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Morimoto Asia’s 2022 Valentine’s Day Dinner Special 8 Course Menu – Disney Springs, Orlando

This Valentine’s Day – Morimoto Asia – the pan-Asian restaurant concept at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World in Orlando FL –  is offering a specially crafted menu from Executive Chef Yuhi Fujinaga for guests in the Upstairs Private Dining Room.

The menu is “finger friendly” drawing from Asian traditions (take sushi as an example, it’s meant to be eaten with your fingers) where not only taste, sight, and smell are important but also touch.

As Executive Chef, Hawaiian-born Chef Yuhi collaborates with Master Chef Masaharu Morimoto on menu seasonal changes, specials and the new omakase program, where customers permit the chef to make their sushi selections.

Morimoto Asia offers a unique dining experience featuring exhibition kitchens that provide behind-the-scenes views complete with traditional hanging Peking roast ducks.

The restaurant’s massive, 2-story interior includes glittering 20-foot-long chandeliers, Shanghai-influenced lounges, private dining spaces and a second-level sushi bar and lounge.

For those who have never been to Morimoto Asia before, some highlights on the menu include: Sushi & Sashimi, Peking Duck, Morimoto Sticky Ribs and of course ramen (Chef Yuhi’s team won the 2021 Ramen Rumble most recently)

For this special Valentine’s Day menu – guests can call the restaurant directly and request to sit in one of those rooms and enjoy this specialty menu.  Space is limited and they encourage early reservations.
Call Morimoto Asia to reserve directly at: 407- 939-6686

Morimoto Asia Valentine’s Day 2022

Eight Course Pre-Fixe Menu





kusshi oysters, osetra caviar, soy marinated ikura, x.o. sauce. suggested pairing: gh mumm champagne


selection of exotic fish from around the world. suggested pairing: kiminoi sake junmai yamahai emperor’s well


soy ginger braised “kama” toro. suggested pairing: gin, sake, lime, strawberry syrup, shiso leaf cocktail shooter


ishiyaki tableside, soy butter, black truffle. suggested pairing: vodka, shochu, lemon, chardonnay reduction, sparkling rose cocktail



roasted rack, braised neck, grilled leg. suggested pairing: cabernet sauvignon (juggernaut california)




plant city strawberry, thai banana, yuzu marshmallow, spiced chicharrones, dark chocolate whiskey and maple bacon gelato. suggested pairing: akashi whiskey

Morimoto Asia
Disney Springs
1600 E Buena Vista Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 939-6686

Expect more to come this year from Morimoto Asia, including exciting ticketed events, seasonal specials, as well as Food and Beverage collaboration dinners. Overall, the team at Morimoto Asia are “working to keep Orlando excited about FOOD!!”

Best Omakase Sushi Tasting in East Orlando? New Soupakase Experience at Soupa Saiyan 3

Marshall Phanthachit and Joy Nguyen recently opened Soupa Saiyan 3 in East Orlando, the third Japanese anime-themed noodle soup restaurant for the family – taking over the space once occupied by Taco Bus at University Blvd and Rouse, just outside of UCF.

@tastychomps #orlandofoodie #sushi ? nwantiti sickmix – Sickickmusic

This location has something a little different from the first two restaurants – a sushi menu and one-hour “Soupakase” casual omakase sushi chef’s tasting experience in the evenings on Wednesdays through Sundays.

The Soupakase experience features an innovative and specially curated 12 course sushi tasting which includes pieces by pieces nigiri, handroll, and soup.

This omakase experience may also be the most affordable experience in the city – at just $65 per person, with up to 6 seats for each seating for now. Tickets are available at

The Soupakase is led by Chef David Tsan, who David Tsan who began his career at Bento in downtown Orlando before working his way through Epcot Japan, Four Seasons at Walt Disney World, Morimoto Asia, Susuru, Kabooki, and most recently illume at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek.

Being a native of Taiwan, growing up Chef Tsan could find Japanese food around the everywhere – “I remember walking late on the street, I could always smell grilled samna (saury) fish or the smell of ramen, eating steamed chawanmushi and sukiyaki donburi or going to the fish market and eating sashimi,” Chef Tsan said. “Japanese cuisine is a part of me – the comfort food that always reminds me of my childhood.” – Chef David Tsan, Soupakase at Soupa Saiyan 3

Chef Tsan’s first kitchen job ever was at Bento as a dishwasher, where he learned humility and continual self-improvement.

Over the years, he continued honing his skills – at Epcot, Chef Tsan built his foundation in Japanese cuisine on a large, fast paced scale, while at Four Seasons he learned from great minds and ideas to build his technique as well as seasonality and buying power of resources and best products.

At Morimoto Asia, he gained his stride, working under chefs there who really pushed him to understand the meaning of “cook” and taught him to teach others instead of watching others struggle. He learned to keep his technique in the back pocket and learned the mentality of a true chef – valuing precision and creativity. His time at Kabooki taught him to push the boundary and invention.

Today, chef Tsan loves being a chef because he needs to have “eyes of a photographer, mind of an architect, tongue of a chef, hands of an artist, legs of an athlete, passion of an astronaut, finesse of a businessman, and speech of a motivation speaker.”

“I believe in technique and serving what is the best and to express my intent and will – and I want to bring my unique blend . 80% is preparation, 20% showmanship – food should be fun, and this is the start of something new.”

First Look – Inside Soupakase at Soupa Saiyan 3 with Chef David Tsan

Hamachi escabeche – tri color pepper
Madai – ume , Shiso ,lime, fleur de seal
Shimaji – matcha salt,lite soy,scallion purée
Butterfish – lite soy, ginger scallion
Marinated lean bluefin tuna ,truffle pate
Tiger shrimp – with Cajun lemon butter
Cold smoke chu toro
Japanese steak and cheese A4,Parmesan
Housemade tamago
Spicy toro hand roll
Snow crab with ikura rice bowl

Roasted fish consommé – Rendered wagyu fat

Soupakase at Soupa Saiyan 3
11325 University Blvd Unit 206, Orlando, FL 32817

Local Orlando Valentine’s Day Specials and Gift Ideas / Treats 2022

Valentine’s Day is upon us – so make sure you get your reservations in ASAP!

Here are our selection of local Orlando Valentine’s Day specials and treats/gift ideas around Central Florida in 2022:

Aurora at the Celeste Hotel – East Orlando area

4105 N Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL
Dine in Only

Aurora will be offering a 5 course chef curated menu for couples at $95 per person or $120 per person with wine pairings for each course. The 5 course menu will be the only menu being offered on Saturday February 12th and Monday February 14th from 5pm until 10pm.

Chef Trudnak and his team have devised a genuinely fabulous holiday menu ideal for sweethearts of all stripes. Things kick off with such amuse-bouche winners as Lobster Gougers, Duck Confit, and Aged English Cheddar. A Sandiliano Brut sparkling wine from Italy will be on hand to set precisely the right mood.

The First Course offers include Seared Seabass and Risotto Cake with a Fenwick Springs Chardonnay, followed up by a Second Course including Alligator-Stuffed Quail and an Herb Spätzle accompanied by a Carson Scott Pinot Noir.

The Aurora Valentine’s Day Couples Pre Fixe Menu will also be serving up a sumptuous Shared Entree anchored by a 28-oz. Porterhouse with roasted wild mushrooms, char-grilled asparagus, and Yukon gold potatoes in Aurora’s house steak sauce and spotlighting a Cabernet Sauvignon out of Story Ridge Vineyard.

The Shared Dessert on the menu, meanwhile, is just about tailor-made for valentines: Aurora’s signature “The Interstellar” dark chocolate balloon dome. An Italian dessert wine will be available to close things out in style.

This event is intended for couples or even numbered groups due to sharing the entrée and dessert.

Add-ons available

Wine pairings for tasting menu

Reservations required – call 689-205-0100 or email chef Mike at

Don’t forget, of course, that The Celeste Hotel offers über-romantic Tribute Portfolio accommodations in Orlando, in case you want to make it an all-out unforgettable Valentine’s Day. Combine the top-shelf romantic dinner at our Aurora restaurant with a gorgeous and well-appointed room or suite in our celestially inspired hotel on the University of Central Florida campus for a couple days’ Valentine’s getaway in East Orlando!

Alligator Stuffed Quail at Aurora at The Celeste Hotel

Seared Seabass at Aurora at The Celeste Hotel

Sous Vide 28 oz. Beef Porterhouse at Aurora at The Celeste Hotel

Rocco’s Italian Grille

400 Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
Reserve your table by visiting or by calling (407) 644-7770 for assistance from Chef/Owner Rocco Potami for availability.

Valentine’s Day Menu
Seating: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
7:30 pm – 8:00 pm
8:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Appetizer (pick one)
The island of Capri’s most famous appetizer with mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil

A Sicilian specialty – Italian arborio rice balls stuffed with peas, meat sauce and parmesan cheese, baked and served over our award-winning tomato cream

Mixed Green in a Champagne Vinaigrette dressing

Main Course (pick one)
Filet of Tenderloin
Filet, pan seared, flambeed with cognac in a five-peppercorn sauce and finished with a green peppercorn from Madagascar

Lobster Ravioli
Ravioli stuffed with Maine lobster, in a vodka sauce

Branzino (Mediterranean Sea Bass)
Filet of Branzino served over pumpkin seed infused mash potato

Veal Parmigiana
Veal Scaloppine, breaded and fried, topped with tomato sauce and gratinate with mozzarella, with a side of Tortellini alfredo

Chocolate Delight
A rich chocolate cake, served with a Sicilian blood orange coulis

$70.00 per person (plus tax and gratuity)

Tabla Indian Cuisine

Tabla Indian Cuisine – Lake Nona
9971 Tagore Place
Suite 9 Orlando, Fl 32827
(407) 743-2847

Tabla Indian Chinese Thai – Winter Park
216 N Park Ave Ste H, Winter Park, FL 32789
(321) 422-0321

Tabla Indian Restaurant
5847 Grand National Dr., Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-9400

Tabla’s Valentine’s Day Pre-Fixe Menu

$75 per person + tax

Amuse bouche

Evening in Paris

Vegetable vol au vents/tomato love broth

Choose One


Love at first sight
Rangoli rajma / corn chaat

Non vegetarian

Chicken tikka purses/ nashili murgh

Main entrée
Choose One

Hug me honey

Stuffed chicken breast -panchporan aloo-desi, green goddess sauce

Lean on me

Coriander crusted salmon -panchporan aloo-honey butter chilli emulsion

Inner beauty

Palak paneer augratin- turmeric khichdi-Mediterranean vegetable

Inside and out

Lamb nargisi kofta- turmeric khichdi-Mediterranean vegetable

Zattar naan/rosemary naan served to the table

Dessert:the climax
Rasmalai shahi tukda
Chocolate strawberry panipoori

Served with choice of house wine –


JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

14900 Chelonia Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32821

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. Located near Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, our hotel offers warm, inviting social spaces and amenities. Hotel features include a Spa by JW®, resort pool with splash pad, specialty restaurants and a rooftop terrace boasting nightly views of the nearby Disney fireworks display.

Sear + Sea at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek
Sear and Sea’s 3 courses + amuse feature for $165.00 per couple:

Amuse Bouche:

Oysters & Caviar
Beau Soleil Oyster, Sterling Caviar, Champagne Vinaigrette

1st Course:

Tomato & Avocado
Baby Arugula, Pickled Mango, Fried Capers, Goat Cheese Mousse, Broken Lemon Vinaigrette

2nd Course:

Surf & Turf
Ribeye of Lamb, Lobster Terrine, Spinach Cream Puree, Truffle Matignon, Herb Oil,
Goat Cheese Mousse

3rd Course:

Chocolate Decadence

illume at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek

Illume will be doing half a dozen oysters with 2 glasses of Rose Champagne for $79.00 a couple


Kumamoto Oysters
Served With…
House-made Yuzu Ponzu
Osetra Caviar
Yuzu Tobiko
Lemon and Chives

Hemisphere at

Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport

9300 Jeff Fuqua Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32827, USA

T +1.407.825.1234


Valentine’s Day Experience Menu

Choice of Salad

Chipotle Caesar – romaine hearts, celery leaves, manchego, corn salsa, smoked almonds

Mixed Greens – fresh berries, candied walnuts, bleu cheese crumbles, avocado champagne dressing

Choice of Entrée

Petite Filet fingerling potatoes, asparagus, red wine demi sauce

Catch of the Day mushroom risotto, beurre blanc, charred asparagus, mushroom chip, marcona almond, olive & currant chutney

Choice of Dessert

Red Velvet Cake Frangelico mousse, strawberry gelee, fresh stawberries
Crème Brulee fresh berries and whipped cream

$78++ Per Guest

Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs

1600 E Buena Vista Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 939-6686

For this special Valentine’s Day menu – guests can call the restaurant directly and request to sit in one of those rooms and enjoy this specialty menu.  Space is limited and they encourage early reservations.
Call Morimoto Asia to reserve directly at: 407- 939-6686

Morimoto Asia Valentine’s Day 2022

Eight Course Pre-Fixe Menu





kusshi oysters, osetra caviar, soy marinated ikura, x.o. sauce. suggested pairing: gh mumm champagne


selection of exotic fish from around the world. suggested pairing: kiminoi sake junmai yamahai emperor’s well


soy ginger braised “kama” toro. suggested pairing: gin, sake, lime, strawberry syrup, shiso leaf cocktail shooter


ishiyaki tableside, soy butter, black truffle. suggested pairing: vodka, shochu, lemon, chardonnay reduction, sparkling rose cocktail



roasted rack, braised neck, grilled leg. suggested pairing: cabernet sauvignon (juggernaut california)




plant city strawberry, thai banana, yuzu marshmallow, spiced chicharrones, dark chocolate whiskey and maple bacon gelato. suggested pairing: akashi whiskey

Pointe Orlando

9101 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: 407-248-2838

Playtime for grown-ups, with or without the kids. Belly dance on table tops. Samba into the early morning hours. Sip martinis under the stars. Chuckle at stand up comedians. Experience blockbuster movies in 4DX. These are just a few of the unique and memorable experiences waiting for you at Orlando’s open-air entertainment destination, featuring local and brand-name restaurants, bars, nightclubs, 20-screen movie theater, comedy club and family attractions.

A culinary destination on International Drive ready to tempt your palette with some of the most craveable food around. Pair your culinary adventure with some great entertainment and you’ve found yourself the perfect night out.

Valentine’s at Taverna Opa at Pointe Orlando

Celebrate eternal love with a tasty Greek feast for two! Special menu available for only $95 per couple (plus tax & gratuity)

Cold Appetizers:
Hummus & Marouli Salad

Hot Appetizer: Saganaki

Main Course: Surf & Turf with two 5oz. filet medallions and one 7oz. lobster tail, served with rice & potatoes

Dessert: Baklava

Available Friday, February 11 – Monday, February 14
Our classic belly dancing entertainment starts at 7pm every night!

Reservations are highly recommended! To reserve, call 407-351-8660 or visit

Valentine’s at Rodizio Grill at Pointe Orlando

Treat your Valentine to a special celebration this Valentine’s weekend at Rodizio Grill. Enjoy expanded holiday menu plus our OnFire featured menu including Peppercorn Steak, Sirloin with Serrano and Cayenne Cinnamon Pineapple.

Saturday, Feb. 12 Lunch & Sunday Feb. 13 Lunch : $39.99 Full Rodizio ($29.99 Salad Bar Only)

Saturday, Feb. 12 Dinner, Sunday, Feb. 13  Dinner & Monday, Feb. 14 Dinner: $56.99 Full Rodizio ($46.99 Salad Bar Only)

Each person will receive a special offer for future visit: one complimentary Full Rodizio dinner, with purchase of one.

Reservations are limited. Reserve your table today by calling 407-593-4422 or visit

Cuba Libre at Pointe Orlando

Cuba Libre has a fun twist on the term “mask” specifically for Valentine’s Day. Each couple that dines with us will receive a black satin eye mask and chocolate truffles (while supplies last). Dinner specials will be offered Friday Feb 11 – Mon Feb 14.

In addition to the masks and truffles, we continue to have Latin bands perform during dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, including on Valentine’s Day weekend! Cubason will perform on Valentine’s Day weekend (Feb. 11-12).

Plato Mar y Tierra $36.95
Adobo rub-grilled Black Angus sirloin and Maine lobster tail. Tomato bearnaise and roasted mashed cauliflower.

Cake Borracho $9
Creamy coconut liquor soaked vanilla genoise, chocolate croutons. Sea salt butter cookie.

Cuba Libre’s cocktail special: ”Island Rose” for $12. Recipe below. We’ll have a drink photo, but not until this weekend.

Cuba Libre’s Island Rose $12
Flavor Profile: Easy Drinking, Slightly sweet
1.5 oz Garzon Rose Pinot Noir Wine
1 oz Brinley Shipwreck Vanilla Rum
.5 oz St. Germain Liqueur
.5oz Fresh Lime Juice
Garnish Float 2-3 Edible Rose Petals


Celebrated for its creative cocktails and tapas-style shareable dishes, Café Tu Tu Tango will offer a prix fixe menu for just $79.22 per couple featuring a selection of appetizers, mains and decadent desserts. To complement the tasty bites, Café Tu Tu Tango’s Valentine’s Day special also includes a choice of a bottle of  Prosecco, red or white wine.

Reservations: HERE

Address: 8625 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819


Serving up authentic Italian cuisine, Mia’s Italian Kitchen will offer a prix fixe menu for just $89 per couple, featuring a selection of appetizers, mains, and desserts for dine-in or to-go. The special also includes a bottle of Prosecco.

Reservations: HERE

Address: 8717 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Reunion Resort & Golf Club


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Traditions – Located within the Jack Nicklaus Clubhouse, Traditions offers an upscale tavern setting with an open-air kitchen.  A special Valentine’s Day Menu will feature Heirloom Tomato & Beet Salad; Marry Me Chicken with sundried tomatoes, roasted marble potatoes and sauteed spinach; Pan Seared Diver Scallops with crispy pork belly, sauteed spinach, craisins and walnuts; and Chocolate Heart for Two.

7593 Chophouse – A sophisticated setting, the 7593 Chophouse is located in the Grande Tower. Friday, Saturday and Monday (from 5-10 p.m.) will feature a Valentine’s Day Menu with Oysters, Caviar & Champagne; Cold Seafood Tower Extravaganza, including shrimp, snow crab, lobster tail, oysters and tuna poke; Pan Seared Diver Scallops with beet risotto; Surf & Turf for two featuring a ribeye and lobster; and Chocolate Heart for Two.

Menu details here.

Reservations recommended (

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

a large open dining room with exquisite light fixtures

Blue Harmony Spa – Special spa services (all served with champagne) the entire month of February to include, 50-minute Couples Aromatherapy Massage; Warm Your Heart 50-minute Indigo Stone Massage; I Chair-ish You Manicure & Pedicure.

Spa treatment details here.

deep blu Seafood Grille – The Valentine’s Day feature will include a Pan-Fried Halibut in crab lemongrass broth with a Mexican Spiced Chocolate Cake for dessert.

The menu is available here.

Reservations recommended (

Reyes Mezcaleria

Ticket sales are now open for our February En la Mesa dinner, which will take place on Valentine‘s Day!

$95 per person for six courses 

$35 add-on beverage pairing

Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with us at Reyes Mezcaleria for the biggest En la Mesa yet! Chef Wendy is serving a beautiful, date-worthy, six-course menu that we’ll be pairing with wine and cocktails.  Doors open at 6:30pm, with the first course starting at 7pm.  Customize your experience by dining indoors or on the patio, and be sure to opt for the beverage pairings!

Full details and ticket link can be found at

Valentine’s Day at 1921 Mount Dora


1921 Mount Dora will be offering a special menu for dinner service on Monday, February 14th in honor of Valentine’s Day. Reserve through our link here.*

Christini’s Ristorante Italiano

7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Ste 84
Orlando, FL 32819
Phone 407-345-8770 / Fax 407-345-8700

Valentine’s Day  set menu priced at $125 per person before tax and gratuity. No a la carte dining will be offered on Valentine’s Day.

Reservations are highly recommended. A credit card is required to finalize the reservation for all party sizes on Valentine’s Day and we have a 24hour cancellation policy. Reservations can be booked on Open Table; or by calling the restaurant at 407-345-8770 from 11am-11pm.

Local Foodie Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Local Cookies and Honey from A Spoon Full of Hope

Since its launch in 2018, A Spoon Full of Hope’s honey, classic shortbread cookies and soup have been gaining popularity – making Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s signature food product line a sweet gift for your Valentine (or Galentine).

 And the best part of this gift? All sales support Second Harvest’s special training program that’s designed to provide qualified, economically challenged adults with the culinary and life skills to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. Second Harvest’s 16-week Culinary Training Program is offered at no-cost to students.

Products can be purchased individually, in bulk or as part of a gift set, and can be shipped directly to your Valentine.

A selection of A Spoon Full of Hope products includes:

  • Tomato Basil Soup
  • Wildflower Honey
  • Mangrove Honey
  • Palmetto Honey
  • Orange Blossom Honey
  • Classic Shortbread Cookies
  • Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
  • Strawberry Lemonade Cookies
  • Chai Shortbread Cookies
  • Sweetheart Special Gift Set: includes (2) mugs and tea bags, (2) honey bears, (2) tea steepers and (2) shortbread cookies
  • Kitchen essentials, such as tea steepers, soup bowls, aprons and mugs

 The last day to order for shipping is Tues., Feb. 8. The deadline for in-person pick-up is Fri., Feb. 11.


Valentine’s Day Smashing Heart at Tapa Toro

Pre-order online here: Valentine‘s Day Grazing Boards | Tapa Toro 

Available for pickup 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. from February 12 – 14. Pre-order on our website!

Breaking hearts is still in style — Tapa Toro’s limited-time-only Smashing Heart Box, a handmade, 14-inch heart-shaped chocolate mold is back for Valentine’s Day. Once cracked mini mallet, you’ll find macarons, chocolate and assorted candies

Price: $35 plus tax


2022 Epcot International Festival of the Arts

We were invited to a media preview of 2022 Epcot International Festival of the Arts at Walt Disney World.  The month-long art festival runs from January 14 through February 21, 2022 and includes delicious culinary offerings, photo ops, chalk art, live entertainment, art seminars, Disney on Broadway performances, activities designed with families in mind, the new Spaceship Earth light show “Rainbow Connection” sung by The Muppets, Harmonious EPCOT Nighttime Spectacular firework show, and so much more.

Pop Eats (Near Port of Entry)

Figment Premium Popcorn Bucket with Rainbow Popcorn. (SOLD OUT)

El Artista Hambriento (Mexico)

Huarache Verde: Cilantro Huarache with Cochinita Pibil, Fresh Pineapple and Pickled Onion

Carne Asada: Seared Beef Tenderloin, Grilled Queso Fresco, Refried Beans Scallion and Ranchera Salsa

Gourmet Landscapes (Canada)

Blood Orange-Braised Beet Carpaccio with Mustard Vinaigrette, Pickled Clamshell Mushrooms, Golden Beets and Crostini (Color Stroll item, plant-based item)

Roasted Bone Marrow with Onion Marmalade, Pickled Mushrooms, Mache Lettuce and Bone Marrow Snow

Pastoral Palate (Germany)

Wild Boar Cassoulet with Duck Confit, Ham Hock and Wild Boar Sausage

The Artist’s Table (The American Adventure)

Pan-Seared Scallops with Vanilla-Butternut Squash Purée, Brown Butter Cauliflower Purée and Lime Foam (Color Stroll item)

The Deconstructed Dish (Near Port of Entry)

Deconstructed French Onion Soup: Beef Broth Ravioli, Gruyere Espuma, Onion Bread Pudding and Onion Textures

Vibrante & Vívido: Encanto Cocina (Between Morocco and France)

Passion Fruit Mousse with Dragon Fruit Jam (gluten/wheat-friendly)

Official 2022 Festival of the Arts merchandise.

Kerry Butler (Beauty and the Beast) and Telly Leung (Aladdin)

Different pairs of DISNEY ON BROADWAY stars will perform some of the songs they helped make famous, plus other sensational tunes at America Gardens Theatre.  The Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Package is available at participating Epcot restaurants and guarantees show seating.

Deco Delights (Near Port of Entry)

Orange Mousse with Lemon Cake and Raspberry Meringues

“Rainbow Connection”

Spaceship Earth light show featuring the song “Rainbow Connection” sung by The Muppets which debuted on the opening day of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts and will be painted nightly throughout the festival.

Harmonious EPCOT Nighttime Spectacular

Be sure to check out the festival before it ends on February 21, 2022, you will love it!

For more information, visit:

First Look: Ding Tea opens first Orlando location

The popular boba franchise Ding Tea officially opened its first Orlando location today with a red ribbon cutting ceremony and lion dancing.

We were invited to visit the new store, at 4680 Millenia Plaza Way, Orlando, FL 32839, across from The Mall at Millenia, and we enjoyed our experience.

Ding Tea Orlando offers a variety of poke, Asian cuisine, boba, and desserts so there is something for everyone’s palate.

Here are some of the top menu offerings at Ding Tea Orlando:

1. Monster Bobo Latte

Whole milk, brown sugar boba & sea salt cream.

2. Top Fruit Tea

Jasmine green tea with strawberry, passion fruit & pineapple.  My favorite drink!

3. Volcano Fries

4. Takoyaki

5. Saigon Street Combo

Tofu bites, fish, shrimp & beef balls.

6. Bao Flight Club

Your choice of three proteins, served with cucumber, pickled daikon & carrot, cilantro, jalapeno & house mayonnaise.  We ordered teriyaki steak, shrimp tempura, and volcano and it was delicious!

Be sure to stop by grand opening weekend today and tomorrow for 30% off everything and (3) $50 gift card giveaway.

Follow them on Instagram or Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news!  For more information, visit:

Ding Tea Orlando
4680 Millenia Plaza Way, Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 203-8081

A Foodie’s Guide to Florida’s Space Coast – Part 1 – #SpaceCoast – featuring Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral

Just a short drive from Orlando, Florida’s Space Coast – home to Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Kennedy Space Center, the Indian River Lagoon, and more – is an easy destination for Central Floridians to come over for a short getaway for dinner and stay overnight to see a rocket launch or watch the sun rise on the beach.

With over 72 miles of coastline, the Space Coast holds a special place in America’s history (and its future) in space as well as a shared history with Central Florida. Indeed, the University of Central Florida, once known as Florida Technological University, was founded by the Florida State Legislature and community leaders as a feeder school to the nearby Kennedy Space Center at the peak of America’s space race to the moon.

Florida’s Space Coast was recently honored to be one of National Geographic’s 25 destinations on the rise for 2021 in their yearly Best of the World rankings and is featured in the family travel section alongside locations in Canada, England, Hungary, and Romania. The section highlights Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the incredible opportunities to view launches, and also mentions the natural wonders of the surrounding Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (including the manatees and bioluminescence in the Indian River Lagoon.)

With five historic downtown districts with shopping, dining and entertainment, eight craft breweries, and food from fine dining to tiki shacks and everything in between, the Space Coast has something for everyone. We recently partnered with Visit Space Coast to bring readers a Foodie’s Guide to Florida’s Space Coast with a suggested itinerary of bites and sights.

Here is Our Foodie’s Guide to Florida’s Space Coast – Part 1

Breakfast –  Downtown Titusville

Sunrise Bread CompanyDowntown Titusville

Open since 1996, Sunrise Bread Company specializes in baking speciality and whole grain breads, cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins and cookies. Their cafe features Batdorf and Bronson coffee with espresso brewed on a La Marzocco espresso machine. For those families with little ones, there is a “secret” hidden kids play area located under the stairs with games and toys – a perfect plce for them to enjoy some time playing while the parents enjoy their coffee. Upstairs, there is ample seating and wi-fi for those looking for a place to meet or work while enjoying their baked goods.

Homemade Bread Choices include: (Monday) Marble & 4 Seed (Tuesday) Rosemary Garlic (Wednesday) Cranberry Orange Walnut, Greek Olive, & Indian River (Thursday) 4 Seed & Marble (Friday) Wild Rice & Onion, Sourdough (Saturday) Cranberry Orange Walnut (Everyday Options) Jalapeño Cheese, Cheddar, Wheat, & Great White

Cinnamon Roll

Monkey Bun

Breakfast Sandwich (egg bite of your choice served on a bagel or homemade bread with bacon & cheese optional) – Gourmet Egg Bites (veggie, cheese, ham & cheese, jalapeño, ham, & cheese, jalapeño & cheese)

Muffins ( blueberry, orange crasin, chocolate cherry, zucchini, banana, pumpkin, morning glory, vanilla chocolate, double chocolate, lemon poppy, cappuccino chocolate, raisin bran, cinnamon coffee cake, fat free (raisin, crasin, blueberry )

Scones (blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, chocolate, orange date, orange chocolate)

Sunrise Bread Company
315 S Hopkins Ave
Near Main Street and Southbound US1

Suggested Activities – Downtown Titusville 

Explore Downtown Titusville’s Murals 

Visit the American Space Musuem and US Space Walk Hall of Fame– Downtown Titusville

You may have heard of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, but not many know of Downtown Titusville’s American Space Museum and US Space Walk Hall of Fame. Stroll on over to the American Space Museum which illustrates America’s history in space exploration by displaying hundreds of artifacts, including photos, hardware, flight suits, Space Shuttle tiles, space patches and pins, and other memorabilia from personal collections of space workers, including astronauts and their families.

The collection also includes the actual (and still working) launch controls from the Space Shuttle and Atlas-Centaur missions. Be sure to visit the STEAM Shop as well — a unique retail space dedicated to science, technology, engineering, art and math.

When you’re done at the American Space Museum, head over to the Space Walk of Fame right down the street beginning at Space View Park, named in part for the spectacular views of launches across the river from Kennedy Space Center. Here, you’ll find stunning monuments dedicated to the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs as well as bronze handprints of famous astronauts .

American Space Museum and Space Walk of Fame
308 Pine Street, Titusville, FL 32796
(321) 264-0434 •

Lunch – Cocoa Beach

Q’s Crackin Crab and Seafood Kitchen – Cocoa Beach

Head on down to Cocoa Beach for lunch at Q’s Crackin’ Crab and Seafood Kitchen, a locally and women owned “Soulful Seafood” Kitchen.

Quinisha and Anthony Bredwood, founders of Q’s Crackin Crab

Q’s Crackin’ Crab & Seafood Kitchen opened up their dream spot in world-famous Cocoa Beach, Florida in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, but have found great success with their delicious crab cluster platters, rib-eye bowls, garlic-infused lobster, and more.

Q’s Crackin’ Crab & Seafood Kitchen and its owner, Quinisha Bredwood, have been named Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Champion of the Month in August of 2021 and was nominated and became a Finalist for Business start-up of the year from the Cocoa Beach Chamber. Together with her husband Anthony, the couple hope to open a second location soon.

Bredwood’s business philosophy is “focus less on money and more on relationships. Relationships will open doors that money cannot.”

Q’s Crackin’ Crab Platter – (2) snow crabs, (1/2 dozen) EZ peel shrimp and 1 premium side, 1 corn and potatoes.

Q’s Crackin’ Mac & Cheese

Fried basket – Fried fish, clams and shrimp

 Q’s Crackin Crab & Seafood Kitchen
5240 N Atlantic Ave UNIT 100, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Dessert at The Florida Key Lime Pie Company – Cocoa Beach

The Florida Key Lime Pie Company is a store with an eclectic Key West and Island Lifestyle feel featuring not only Key Lime Pie and Ice Cream , but also a selection of Key Lime Beers, Key Lime Cooler Cookies, Key Lime Candies, Key Lime Chocolates, Key Lime Pretzels, Key Lime Wines and a selection of over 500+ different Hot Sauces, Grilling Sauces and Marinades. There is Fresh Locally made “Gator Jerky” and “Python Jerky” which is made with a slight smokey flavor and lightly spicy finish.

The Florida Key Lime Pie Company
102 Dixie Ln, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Suggested Activities in Cocoa Beach

Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier

A historic landmark on Florida’s Space Coast, the world-famous Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean and is home to restaurants, bars, gift shops and live musical entertainment. In addition to great fishing, the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier offers fishing equipment rentals, beach rentals, fresh water showers, regulation beach volleyball courts, lifeguards year round and some of the absolute best surfing on the East Coast.

Originally built in 1962, Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier (originally known as “Canaveral Pier”) was constructed with more than 2.5 miles of boardwalk planks and 270 pilings, each 40 feet in length. Throughout the years, it has been a favorite of both locals and tourists and undergone many changes.

Grab a drink or bite while you are there at one of the many bars and restaurants on site including Rikki Tiki Tavern, The Boardwalk Bar, Pelican’s Bar & Grill, Sea Dogs, and Keith’s Oyster Bar.

Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier

Dinosaur Store and Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures

Imagine the excitement of uncovering fossils in the Egyptian ruins, panning for treasures at a working sluice, or braving the wild rapids of the Nile River all within 2 blocks from the Ocean. You can do all of that and more at The Dinosaur Store in Cocoa Beach.

The Dinosaur Store first opened its doors in Cocoa Beach in November, 1996 and quickly branched out to designing small museum exhibits, which grew to a full business exhibiting dinosaur exhibits nationwide, including Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Science Spectrum in Lubbock, MOSI in Tampa and many more museums across the USA.

Known as having the most ‘elaborate array of fossils in the world,’ The Dinosaur Store is committed to providing a place that is both fun and educational for the whole family.

The Dinosaur Store houses both an interactive adventure zone, filled with an array of games, live animals, and science center activities, and a museum dedicated to dinosaurs and ancient cultures. This is an indoor facility and is perfect for a day full of fun, rain or shine.

From French Lascaux cave-paintings to an impressive collection of fossils, minerals, and specimen, start your Jurassic journey today at The Dinosaur Store.

One of the most terrifying birds to live on earth – was also found in Florida.

The Dinosaur Store
250 W. Cocoa Beach Causeway Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

 More Suggestions for Activities in Cocoa Beach

Dinner at Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral is only 6 miles north of Cocoa Beach and is home to not only the 2nd busiest cruise and cargo port in the world, but also some of the best waterfront dining on the Space Coast.

Voted as the Best North American Homeport by Cruise Critic, Port Canaveral is the fastest growing cruise port in Florida and is a homeport to the industry’s top cruise lines.

Here you can choose from many local restaurants serving up fresh seafood, pub food, cold brews and tropical cocktails while watching cruise ships, wildlife, and SpaceX boosters glide effortlessly through one of the busiest ports in the US.

Rising Tide Tap & Table – Port Canaveral

Grab a seat on the lakeside deck overlooking the water to watch the sun set at  in Port Canaveral, where everything is made fresh from scratch with hand-cut daily meats and fish, creatively flourished with seasonal flavors.

Led by Culinary Institute of America (CIA) trained Executive Chef Jeff Kainz, the menu is bold and creative. Chef Kainz is also a Central Florida native, having worked at Chatham’s Place among other Central Florida restaurants while growing up.

Their famous burgers are hand-formed double patties and served with fries made from hand cut Idaho Russets.  Corn tortillas are light toasted to order for their Mahi tacos and the stone-baked pizzas start with house made, artisan dough.

Florida craft beers are featured on most of their 60 taps, and craft cocktails and house made frozen drinks are their specialties.

CALMARI – Crispy squid, feta crumbles , onion and radish, burnt tomato jam, lemon garlic aioli

BUFFALO BIRD – Roast chicken with some kickin’ – honey butter, mackin’ cheese fritters, charred broccolini, blue buffalo sauce, smokey blue cheese, carrot-cauliflower giardiniera

KEY WEST CREME BRÛLÉE – Key lime custard, burnt sugar, mint funnel cake, candied lime

RISING TIDE tap & table
523 Glen Cheek Dr, Port Canaveral, FL 32920

Goodies and Gift Ideas from the Space Coast

Grimaldi Candy Company’s milk chocolate Chips n’ chocolate

  • Since 1969 Grimaldi Candy Company, located in Florida’s Space Coast Brevard County has been offering the finest gourmet chocolates in the country including our famous and the original “Chips ‘N Chocolate” Chocolate covered potato chips. When our customers come into our stores not only do they get to sample some of our delicious products they also get a little taste of history and nostalgia by showcasing some of our antique chocolate making equipment as well as being able to see the magic happen in our Rockledge, Florida production location.
  • Social Media:,

Southern Caramel’s original caramel

  • Southern Caramel is family-owned and operated by a Daughter/ Father duo. Sarah and Jimi have spent some of their most memorable years together in the Florida woods. They would talk about the joys of life and share about their fears, hopes and dreams. Sarah Smith started Southern Caramel in 2013 as a way to be home with her newborn daughter. She had been making the caramels for family, friends, and co-workers when she was encouraged to take the leap from her life in the aerospace industry to full-time mom and entrepreneur. They manufacture and ship from sunny Melbourne, Florida.
  • Social Media:,

Joy’s Gourmet’s  basil pesto & garlic

  • Joy’s Gourmet is named after our daughter Joy and based on family recipes from my Grandparents. With Joy’s Gourmet, we bring the taste of the Mediterranean to America’s table.  Starting with our secret mix of garlic and spices we grew in popularity with friends and family. We finally took the plunge and began producing our dairy free Garlic Joy Spreads and selling them at local gourmet markets in early 2003. The all-natural versatility and unique flavor of Joy’s Gourmet products have created a loyal following all across the Southeast. Made with raw blended ingredients, Garlic Joy is vegetarian, vegan, and free of preservatives, dairy, cholesterol, trans-fats and sugar!
  • Social Media:,

Space Coast Spreads’ Amy’s candied jalapeños

  • Space Coast Spreads started from simple candied jalapeños homemade in Amy’s kitchen, but quickly expanded to jellies, jams and other spreads after friends and family raved about her talent. Amy’s passion and skill for finding unique balances between sweet and savory, smoky and spicy and more has won her recognition at farmer’s markets and other food festivals, and she continues to experiment and introduce new flavors unheard of in the spread realm.  She loves showing people that jellies and jams are meant for much more than just toast.  So, enjoy your jar and experiment away!
  • Social Media:,

Staying Overnight in Florida’s Space Coast

From large national hotel chains lining the beaches along Cocoa Beach down through Melbourne Beach to boutique motels and quaint bed and breakfast inns, Florida’s Space Coast has accommodations to please all types of visitors.

For the leisure traveler, traditional lodging choices are available including campgrounds, condo and home rentals. Business travelers will have no problem seeking a property that makes life away from the office easier and more productive. Most lodging options on the Space Coast are conveniently located in proximity of local shopping, dining and attractions.

For more information on accomodations, visit

For more information and to plan your next visit, Visit Space Coast on social media and online at:


Prato of Winter Park Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary – Interview with Chef Brandon McGlamery

Prato – the popular modern Italian restaurant on Park Avenue in Winter Park – recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Over the years, they have become renown for their modern Italian inspired plates crafted from market-fresh ingredients, proudly prepared in their imported Acunto oak-burning ovens.

We spoke with Chef Brandon McGlamery about Prato’s big 10 Year anniversary and how things have changed in Orlando over the years, as well as the upcoming plans for Luma. Read on!

Tasty Chomps Interview with Chef Brandon McGlamery – Prato

Tasty Chomps: Looking back over the years, what are your favorite memories and moments at Prato these past 10 years?

Chef Brandon McGlamery: Finding our rhythm and footing after a very hectic opening, the volume and demand of our clientele was a bit overwhelming and with that unexpected success, it caught us off-guard, and as always, I worried about the consistency and quality of product we where producing. It still is a challenge, but we embrace it with a “GO FORWARD” attitude and do our very best efforts.

Another thing on that note, I fondly look back on the team in any capacity of time that they spent with us, and the contributions that they made that helped shape into our philosophy, cuisine, and service.

In your opinion, how has the food and beverage industry in Orlando transformed and evolved over the past 10 years?

As far as new restaurants and the scene growth, I feel we are behind the curve some. We have fewer new restaurant openings than say Miami, Palm Beach, Tampa , of course we can thank Covid for that hindering stall, & push the blame on for most likely deflating or raising caution for many great ideas from new to experienced restaurateurs/chefs in the past 3 years. My bet is we are about to see a good energy shock to the growth.

I do remember when I came here almost 17 years ago that many people warned me that Orlando was not a town for quality or simple experimentation, and was a land of non- adventurous & bland diners…… well that was far from the truth and I think our customer base is very sophisticated and hungry for more, and are looking to support new quality operations.

For those new to Orlando, how would you describe Prato to those who have not been there to dine yet ?

Wood fired Italian focused busy ” eatery”……. also reservations recommended ….. if they are looking for a quiet romantic dinner, this most likely is not gonna be a good fit for that occasion…..

What are the most popular dishes right now at Prato?

Some things that will most likely never get rotated off the menu…mustard spaghettini, meatballs, chesnut ravioli , this month the black truffle pizza (when available) and garganelli, campo salad…. also we have a hazelnut-veal sweetbread tortellini that we have trouble keeping on the menu because it sells so fast and we have gotten great feedback from guests on…… we thought it was delish but be a bit of a sleeper, not the case.

Luma … any updates yet for the new location?

Ha- I will be the first to tell you, Ricky, that ship had sailed a long time ago. At first we really thought it to be a great idea, and it was mostly due to our community urging us to keep that flame alive, but then we would always be compared to that place in that space and location, and we just wanted to do something different than recreate that success in another building .

We looked all over town, considering many options, & felt it would could never get back to that original version.

That space was and always will be close to my heart, but after 15 years to the day in that building, with more hours, tears, sweat, and time … never had I spent any or all of that in one place in my entire life, and just changing our location, began the challenge of making the emperor’s clothes try to feel and fit the same……it would have been difficult to repeat so we buried it fondly away…

10 years is a long time in any industry, particularly the restaurant industry as you well know – what are some of the things that you think have made and kept Prato a success?

Simple. Our team and our customers, without either none of this is possible. After that is “consistency and quality”

What are some other upcoming plans for Prato in the near future?

We looked at other markets for expansion, but finding that right fit has been tough on multiple levels, but we are keeping our irons in the fire and grinding just like any other company in the hospitality industry, all over the country…… we need for the next generation to get to work so we can cultivate, its the same all over, we cannot find new hires for growth….. this is our biggest priority……

Prato Winter Park
124 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

Pammie’s Sammies in Winter Garden – Interview with Owner Pam Thomas

Located in downtown historic Winter Garden, Florida, Pammie’s Sammies is a charming neighborhood eatery featuring sandwiches, pizzas, and more. Their goal is to offer unexpected flavor from a familiar, friendly shop, creating a customer experience where everyone feels like family. They are also always on the hunt for new twists on old favorites like their Spicy Pesto Chicken Quesadilla and the Reubenesque Sammie, made with hickory house-smoked corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and whole grain mustard on rye bread.

We spoke recently with owner Pam Thomas about her inspiration behind Pammie’s Sammies and all the things coming up –

Pam Thomas of Pammie’s Sammies

Interview with Pam Thomas of Pammie’s Sammies in Winter Garden, Florida

Tasty Chomps: Tell us about your background – how did your career in food begin?

Pam Thomas: Probably when I was about 4 or 5. One summer (I can remember like it was last week) all in the world I wanted was an Easy Bake Oven. One day, after a chicken dinner, my mom asked me if I wanted to pull the wishbone with her. I told her no – I wanted to pull it myself.

We had a screened-in porch out back with a view of the picnic table just beyond. I was convinced that if I believed enough, when I broke that wishbone in half, an Easy Bake Oven would appear on that picnic table. I couldn’t lose! Well of course I was very disappointed when I opened my eyes but learned a hard lesson about selfishness and the power of wishbones.

I did get an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas that year and it sort of started it all. The ovens I own now are anything but “easy bake” but the miracle of a light bulb and cake batter probably started it all. That…and my love of searching for what feeds people’s souls.

Hickory House-smoked corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and whole grain mustard on rye bread.

What are your favorite memories growing up around food? How did this influence you and the menu at Pammie’s Sammies?

Lou’s (our grandmother) Christmas pickles and fish fries and marshmallow roasts on the banks of the Mississippi River. So very much revolved around mealtimes. Greens, beans and cornbread. Coming home from school to a freezer full of fresh beef mom had picked up at our grandfather’s farm. Dad’s charcoal-grilled hamburgers and tomatoes from his plants behind the storage shed. Growing up in the South where sharing food is a true form of crafting with love.

Spicy Chicken Quesadilla Wrap –
Grilled chicken and black beans tossed in a cilantro pesto with pepper jack cheese and red onion in a jalapeno wrap. Spicy.

What are the top 5 most popular dishes at Pammie’s right now?

The best thing on the menu is hospitality! But…

Burgers – my favorite food of all time, our chicken salad, The Three Little Pigs (bacon, ham and pulled pork…the Big, Bad Wolf’s favorite), The Flower Child Salad with edible blooms and of course anything with “-esque” in the name…like Cubanesque…hickory smoked pulled pork instead of the oven-roasted variety.

Cubanesque Sammie –
Hickory House-smoked pork, ham, dill pickle, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard, and mayo on ciabatta.

What were some challenges you faced opening in the middle of a pandemic in 2020 and how did you overcome them?

Mercy! We opened the day they shut down the state with a little take-out window. It was terrifying but that is what kept me going. Everyone was losing their income and quite honestly their minds and I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone on my team feeling like I did. We were a tiny dot of sanity where people could grab something prepared safely, “normalish” and comforting – without ANY social agenda.

We just kept swimming and inventing.

Who’s Your Daddy?
Pammie’s daddy-o’s favorite – Fried bologna, American cheese, crushed Fritos, and yellow mustard on a ciabatta roll

What are some of your passions outside of food?

I am a “maker”. I love crafting, repurposing and inventing things. I don’t limit myself and I have a crazy good imagination. I love music and spending time with my husband, daughter, family and friends.

I’m very passionate about doing what makes my heart sing and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Turkey BLAT Sammie-
Roasted turkey breast, bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and mayo on ciabatta.

What are some things you are involved in in the community? Why is that important to you?

Our mom was an elected county official until she retired and continues to serve and love her community. I suppose I am somewhat following in her footsteps by always looking for ways to get more plugged into our community without electrocuting myself. I’m a Believer and Truth Seeker with the fire to serve from the heart. I get the biggest kick out of helping people help themselves and watching them discover their own jam.

What are some upcoming plans as we approach the holidays and new year for Pammie’s?

With this being the (almost) first holiday season after the pandemic, we are sort of just letting it happen. We’ve been catering some parties and events and enjoying the season’s bustle and blessings. We have a lot of CRAZY ideas and plans for 2022 starting in January and will do our very best to get the word out but ADORE spontaneously combusting fun!

What do you love most about being in Winter Garden?

I love the community support and comradery. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas so I know this beautiful beast intimately. In many ways, Winter Garden feels like home.

Pammie’s Sammies
121 S. Boyd St.
Winter Garden, FL 34787
Shop: 407-730-3212

Caribbean Delights at Island Thyme Caribbean Grille with Chef Vern Thomas in East Orlando / Avalon Park

Island Thyme is a fast casual Caribbean Grille with a menu that is inspired by the food and culture of owner Chef Vern Thomas’ upbringing in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Their Caribbean food is prepared fresh to order, including some of the most popular Caribbean dishes such as spicy Jerk Chicken, homestyle Braised Oxtail, crunchy Coconut Shrimp and savory Rock City BBQ Ribs.BRAISED OXTAIL

We spoke with Chef Vern about Island Thyme and his inspiration and roots in St. Thomas in the U.S Virgin Islands as well as his background as a long time Executive Chef. 

Chef Vern Thomas of Island Thyme

What are your inspirations behind the food at Island Thyme?
The food at Island Thyme is inspired by my experiences growing up on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

I had a great childhood growing up in the islands, with my Mom Joannah Thomas who was an amazing cook and would make wonderful made from scratch meals every day.

There would be lots of fresh seafood delivered daily by local fishermen, fresh ingredients from her garden and our home was always filled with aromas that would make your mouth water. My mother inspired me to become a Chef.


I have 4 brothers and 1 sister, and food was at the center of everything in our home. We would have meals together as a family and just enjoy the flavors and the discussion.

My favorite foods growing up are definitely fresh seafood and island specialties like Meat Pates and Johnny Cakes.  These are also some of the most popular menu items.


What do you wish people knew about Island Thyme?

I wish people knew that Island Thyme captures the flavors of many Islands in the Caribbean. There are so many cultures due to the melting pot of diversity in the Caribbean.

Some of the differences in Cuisine from island to island have a lot to do with the diversity of the people and culture.


An example would be some Spanish speaking islands like Cuba or Puerto Rico has a more Latin cooking style influence to their food. Islands like Jamaica or the US Virgin Islands have an African influenced cooking style and Islands like Trinidad and Tobago has an Indian influence to their food preparation.

We use a lot of the same ingredients but there are differences in culture and techniques in preparation of many classic dishes. 


Tell us about your background and culinary experience

I’ve been a Chef professionally for almost 30 years. Started as a culinary apprentice and worked my way up to Executive Chef at some of the best resorts in the Caribbean. I’ve enhanced my culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America and the Culinary Institute of Tuscany in Italy.

I’ve spent many years as executive chef in research and development for some of the largest Casual Dining restaurant companies in the country. I opened Island Thyme in 2017 and appreciate all the support of our Avalon Park community.


If you could eat any meal for the rest of your life, what would that meal look like?

Jerk Chicken would be my meal. Just got to love that wonderful dish.


Island Thyme Grille – East Orlando / Avalon Park
(321) 804-5357

This visit is brought to us by PepsiDig, @pepsidigin, highlighting local chefs and restaurants across America.

First Look: Tabla Indian Cuisine opens third location in Lake Nona

We were invited to check out the new Tabla Indian Cuisine at Lake Nona Landing on Narcoossee Road., located next to Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, and we enjoyed our experience.

This marks their third location in addition to the original one off Kirkman Road near Universal Studios and their second location on Park Avenue in Winter Park.

The restaurant was clean and spacious and the outdoor patio overlooked the parking lot which offered ample parking.

At Tabla you will find authentic Indian food with an amazing taste.  Their menu offers a wide variety of Indo-Chinese and Thai food that can be prepared for individual preferences such as healthy vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and jain.

Tabla attributes its success to great food prepared by passionate chefs.  Over the years they have taken traditional recipes and enhanced them with a modern approach using progressive cooking techniques to bring the taste of Indian, Thai, and Indo-Chinese together.  They have been creating memories as a premium Asian caterer at events for past years and now they are bringing the same creativity and uniqueness to all of their restaurants in Central Florida.

Here are photos of some dishes at Tabla Indian Cuisine:

Garlic Naan

Aloo Tikka Chaat – Potato Patties flavored with Indian Spices, served with Yogurt and Chick Peas

Mixed Pakora – Spiced Cauliflower, Potato, Paneer and Onion Fritters

Tandoori Chicken – Roasted, Young, Bone-in Chicken Marinated in Tandoori Masala

Chana Masala – Chickpeas cooked home style with Onions, Tomatoes & Ginger

Tabla Indian Cuisine currently has three locations throughout Orlando.  Be sure to check out their newest location in Lake Nona to enjoy some delicious elevated Indian dishes!

For more information, visit:

— Tabla Locations — 

Tabla Indian Cuisine – Lake Nona
9971 Tagore Place
Suite 9 Orlando, Fl 32827
(407) 743-2847

Tabla Indian Chinese Thai – Winter Park
216 N Park Ave Ste H, Winter Park, FL 32789
(321) 422-0321

Tabla Indian Restaurant
5847 Grand National Dr., Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-9400

Marketplace at Avalon Park – Lemon Shark Poke

LemonShark Poké is the healthy, friendly poké concept that pioneered the “fine casual” restaurant movement.

Marketplace at Avalon Park’s Lemon Shark Poké offers chef-inspired poké creations available in signature bowls, build-your-own bowls, “pokérritos” rolls and wonton nacho options.

The healthy menu is inspired by the lemon shark, who is a notorious discerning and picky eater, feeding on only the highest quality fish.

Business partners Diana Viera and Bruce Galicia have owned and operated restaurants in central Florida for more than 10 years.

Having run fast casual franchises in the Central Florida area for over a decade, Galicia started working in restaurants while in college, but didn’t really get proper training anywhere.

“I learned as I went,” Galicia admits. “I decided to purchase my first franchise in 2011 with a nationwide brand that helped me learn a lot on how to be a successful owner/operator. Then I decided to branch out to a smaller franchise concept. I was their first franchisee and learned what it was like to start up a business from the ground up.”

Now, alongside his wife and co-owner Diana, Bruce recently opened their latest fast casual franchise, LemonShark Poké, at Marketplace at Avalon Park.

“The Marketplace at Avalon Park embodies exactly what we were seeking for the next phase of our business,” said Diana Viera, Owner/Operator. “We have owned full-sized brick and mortar locations and smaller mall locations and the cutting edge, trendy eatertainment nature of the Marketplace is the perfect fit for our increasingly popular menu.”

Boasting a Hawaiian-inspired menu featuring quality-crafted Poké bowls, Hibachi bowls, small bites, and more, LemonShark Poké is focused on serving healthy, refined, high-quality and sustainable products in an inviting, upscale and modern atmosphere.

“Our food is delicious,” Diana exclaims. “Bruce and I are passionate about LemonShark Poké. We love seeing our customers happy.”

Not just for Poke Sushi Style Bowls, Lemon Shark at the Marketplace at Avalon Park has a series of delectable (and popular) hibachi rice bowls as well as wings. They also serve the popular Stubborn line of craft sodas – don’t miss the pineapple cream!

Here is an Inside Look at What’s New on the Lemon Shark Menu:

Hawaiian style Huli Huli wings with pineapple

Korean sticky hot wings

Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Hibachi Bowl with juicy grilled chicken and sweet pineapple, Hawaiian Mac Salad, and Asian Slaw

Garlic Shoyu Steak Hibachi Bowl with tender marinated steak finished with sweet soy tare sauce, Hawaiian Mac Salad, and Asian Slaw

The full Menu at Lemon Shark

Marketplace at Avalon Park brings together local artisans, makers and creators to share their innovations with a traditional shopping experience. The Marketplace at Avalon Park is located at 3801 Avalon Park East Boulevard and encompasses over 8,000 square feet with 9 eatery bays that will comprise the food hall, a commissary kitchen, live entertainment and event space, a general store, brewery taproom and a gathering kitchen.

For more information visit or contact at or 407-730-3515.

2021 Holiday Happenings at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa’s holiday offerings has something for the whole family!


Breakfast with Santa: From 7-11 a.m. on Sundays through December and Christmas Eve, the resort will host Santa for a breakfast at the Unreserved Food Bazaar, complete with a holiday carving station and fresh pastries. Guests can also watch Santa and Mrs. Claus decorate cookies and snap a last-minute picture with Santa before his big night. $39/adult and $23/child. Reservations required.

Our family got a chance to have a sneak peek at Breakfast with Santa at the Unreserved Food Bazaar and definitely recommend it! It was a fun experience for the kids to have some breakfast with Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause visiting our table and making cookies nearby.

Here is an Inside Look at Breakfast with Santa: 

Cookie Decorating: Get in the Christmas spirit in the resort’s lobby for gingerbread man decorating on Christmas day at 1:00 p.m.

Sear + Sea Christmas Dinner: On Christmas Eve and Christmas night from 5:00-10:00 p.m., diners can enjoy a multi-course prix fixe dining experience at the resort’s swanky steak and seafood restaurant, starting with a welcome glass of champagne. $135/person with $39 wine pairing. Three-course children’s menu available for $50/child. A la carte menu also available. Reservations required.

Unreserved Beer Garden Christmas Buffet: For a more casual meal, guests can visit the Unreserved Beer Garden on Christmas day from 12:30-8:00 p.m. for a holiday feast, with carving stations, a raw bar and live entertainment. $125/adult and $45/child. Reservations required.

New Year’s Eve 2021

Sear + Sea New Year’s Eve Dinner: The upscale restaurant will serve a traditional 5-course New Year’s Eve dinner from 6:00-11:00 p.m., with welcome glasses of champagne. A la carte menu also available. $155/person. Three-course children’s menu for $85/child. Reservations required.

Unreserved Beer Garden New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet: On December 31st, Unreserved will feature a buffet from 5:00-9:00 p.m. with live music and dishes like fresh seafood, Spanish BBQ and tapas, and a Japanese sushi bar. $135/adult and $55/child. Reservations required.

 New Year’s Eve Fête: Guests looking for an elegant celebration to ring in the new year can enjoy live music, champagne specials, a balloon drop and an a la carte menu at the Sear + Sea Lobby Bar to toast 2022. 5:00 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

            *Resort guests only.

Bonenkai Party: For views of the Orlando fireworks that rival actually being in the parks themselves, guests can head upstairs to illume for a Japanese-inspired Bonenkai party (roughly translated to a “forget the year” party) with a live DJ from 8:00 p.m.-1:30 a.m. to bid 2021 goodbye and take in the 180-degree views at the resort’s rooftop lounge.

VIP Package: Includes reserved seating, an a la carte food menu with “Jubako Style sharable light bites, access to the dessert lounge and a midnight champagne toast with midnight snacks

*$125 per person

Lanai Access Package: Includes access to the dessert lounge and a midnight champagne toast with midnight snacks

*$75 per person

New Year’s Day Hangover Brunch: To start 2022 off right, the resort will host a New Year’s Day Brunch at Unreserved, with indulgent menu items including maple glazed pork belly, Nutella stuffed French toast, a crab cake benedict station and a complimentary mimosa or bloody mary. $42/adult and $24/child. Reservations required.

*And, complimentary holiday cookies and hot chocolate for all guests during the holiday season!

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.

Wine Lover’s Guide to Palisade, CO

Palisade, Colorado is a wine lover’s paradise. Located just outside of Grand Junction in Western Colorado, Palisade is home to over 20 unique wineries and vineyards. Colorado’s very own wine country is both quaint and charming, making it the ideal staycation for anyone with an appreciation for wine.

This small town is full of history, great food and (most importantly) unparalleled wine. We were invited to visit Palisade and explore some of its famous wineries for ourselves. Here is our wine lover’s guide to Palisade, Colorado.

Wine Lover’s Guide to Palisade, CO

Meadery of the Rockies

Talon Wine Brands is a local favorite in Palisade, owning Talon Winery, St. Kathryn Cellars and Meadery of The Rockies. Our first stop in Palisade was Meadery of the Rockies, where we went on the Talon Sensory Tour. This unique tour invites guests to taste, smell and touch a variety of fresh ingredients used throughout the winemaking process while touring the facilities. The best part? Your wine glass will never be empty.

The Strawberry Rhubarb wine from St. Kathryn Cellars was a personal favorite of mine.

At the end of the tour, you’re invited to taste some tasty treats like freshly caramelized pears. Each guest also received their own mini charcuterie board to enjoy.

The Ordinary Fellow Winery

Next, we made our way over to The Ordinary Fellow Winery in downtown Palisade. This spot just celebrated its grand opening in November, and will soon be adding its very own food truck in the spring. We were invited to tour The Ordinary Fellow and sample some of the brand’s most popular bottles.

First we sampled the 2021 Riesling, which was a favorite of ours.

Throughout our tasting experience, we also sampled the Red Wine Blend, Rosé and Albariño. Each wine was unique and memorable.

“I’m really trying to create a place like an English pub right here in Palisade, where you can come, hang out and enjoy a glass of wine after you finish work,” Head Winemaker Ben Parsons explained. “We’ll have our food truck in the spring, where we’ll deliberately pair delicious food with our wines. We’ll start doing movie nights outside, we’ll have a DJ once a month and just make it a really fun place to hang out.”

Wine Country Inn

After a day of wine tasting, Wine Country Inn is the perfect spot to relax and stay the night. This cozy hotel is conveniently located right in the middle of Palisade and only minutes from both The Ordinary Fellow Winery and Meadery of the Rockies.

Wine Country Inn offers great views, charming rooms, high-end dining and complimentary wine tastings every evening.

Guests staying on the first floor can enjoy their own delightful private porch, perfect for sipping warm coffee in the mornings.

The views from the guest room porches are charming all year long. During our November stay, we enjoyed crisp air and had a lovely view of autumn leaves falling from the trees.

Some other lovely wineries to add to your list the next time you’re in Palisade, CO include:

  • Two Rivers Winery
  • Colterris
  • Sauvage Spectrum
  • Vines 79
  • Restoration
  • Colorado Vintner’s Collective

To try even more wineries across the town of Palisade at your leisure, we recommend staying for at least a couple nights.


Inside Look: Lunch at Caja Caliente, Miami

Caja Caliente celebrates the traditional flavors of Cuba while adding a modern twist. This foodie spot has two Miami locations: one brick-and-mortar in Coral Gables and one food truck located in Miami’s Design District. We were invited to stop by the food truck and taste some of Caja Caliente’s most popular menu items for lunch.

We highly recommend stopping by Caja Caliente earlier in the day, as certain menu items are known to sell out quickly.

Inside Look: Lunch at Caja Caliente, Miami

Pan con Pollo

For a fresh and filling lunch, we recommend trying the Pan con Pollo. This shredded chicken sandwich features pico de gallo, potato sticks, cotija cheese and caja aioli served on a pressed Cuban bun. The potato sticks add a tasty crunch while the other ingredients bring out the Cuban flavors. Overall, this is a great chicken sandwich.

Cuban Tacos

Perhaps the most famous offerings at Caja Caliente, “The Famous Cuban Tacos” are an absolute must-try. A variety of tacos are available, but we went with the Lechon (pulled pork), Pollo (shredded chicken), and Mahi Mahi Tacos.

All three were extremely flavorful and delicious, but if you can only try one it should definitely be the Mahi Mahi Tacos. The fish was cooked to perfection and paired wonderfully with avocado, black bean pico, cabbage and caja aioli. These tacos are ideal for a quick mid-day lunch break.

Caja Caliente also offers a tasty variety of bowls, burritos, pastries, desserts and more. For more information, visit


Inside Look: Breakfast at Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar

Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar is a quick service gourmet foodie spot with locations across Miami and South Florida. Crema’s menu is diverse, with food offerings ranging from all day breakfast to penne pastas, salads, smoothies, sandwiches, juices and more.

We were invited to stop by to enjoy breakfast at Crema, and we were thoroughly impressed with the delightful dishes.

Inside Look: Breakfast at Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar

Iced Vanilla Oat Milk Latte

Crema has an extensive coffee menu with multiple dairy-free milk substitutes. We ordered an Iced Vanilla Oat Milk Latte, and it was delicious.

Acai Bowl

The Acai Bowl at Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar features granola, coconut flakes, blueberry, strawberry, bananas and almonds. You can also choose to add peanut or almond butter for some added protein. This was a wonderful acai bowl, ideal for a light and refreshing breakfast or lunch.

Salmon Bagel

The Salmon Bagel is served with salmon, herbed cream cheese, onions, tomatoes and dill on a toasted sesame bagel. This breakfast dish takes a traditional salmon bagel and adds a bit more flavor and personality. Overall, a great menu item to enjoy for a light breakfast or brunch.

For more information about Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar, visit

Inside Look: Brunch at Calle 23 in Miami, FL

Calle 23 is a trendy Cuban restaurant located on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Florida. This foodie spot offers brunch, lunch, dinner and happy hour throughout the week.

We were invited to sample some brunch must-haves during our trip to Miami, and we were thoroughly impressed with the tasty selection available at Calle 23. Brunch is available Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

Inside Look: Brunch at Calle 23 in Miami, FL

Both the interior and exterior decor at Calle 23 Miami are incredibly stylish and ideal for all your Instagram photo needs.

Chicken & Waffles — $19

The Chicken & Waffles are a great choice for anybody who prefers a brunch entree that is both sweet and savory. Made with crispy Southern Fried Chicken, fluffy Belgian Waffles and sweet Maple Syrup, this dish was delicious and filling.

Avocado Toast — $17

The Avocado Toast features fresh avocado spread on top of toasted sourdough, served with a crunchy fried egg. This dish is a wonderful option if you’re looking to try something on the lighter side. The fried egg really differentiates this brunch bite from your average avocado toast. The outer layer is flaky and crispy, while the egg yolk remains runny, making it ideal with this tasty menu item.

Croquetas — $11

Croquetas are must at any Cuban restaurant in Miami, and Calle 23 is no exception. Calle 23 offers of variety of croqueta flavors for brunch like ham and cheese, Manchego cheese, mojo chicken and chorizo. We enjoyed the Manchego cheese as well as the ham and cheese flavors, and both were delightful.

To learn more about Calle 23 and their delicious food offerings, visit

22nd Annual Cattle Baron’s Ball at Rosen Shingle Creek benefiting American Cancer Society

The Orlando Cattle Baron’s Ball has been a signature event for over 20 years dazzling guests from the Greater Orlando area. This past Saturday, the 22nd annual Cattle Baron’s Ball benefiting American Cancer Society at Rosen Shingle Creek brought together cowboys and cowgirls for an evening of western-themed fun to help raise almost $400,000 to fund local and national programs supporting cancer patients, education and life-saving research.

Festivities began at 6pm with a reception that included a robust silent auction, followed by a gourmet dine-around featuring food from many of Central Florida’s finest chefs, incredible entertainment, dancing, an exciting live auction and a mission paddle-raise to help fund pediatric cancer research for our littlest cancer warriors.

Every day a family’s live is turn upside down as they hear that their child has cancer. Cancer doesn’t fight fair at any age, but it is particularly devastating for children. Substantial progress has been made against some types of pediatric cancers, boosting survival for those cancers. However, there are still several types of kids’ cancers with low survival rates or no known cure.  With the help through American Cancer Society’s Orlando Cattle Baron’s Ball, guests can change the odds and fight back together.

Here are photos of the 2021 Cattle Baron’s Ball vendors:

Exploria Food Service – Garlic Knot Pulled Pork Sliders & Red Velvet Coconut Flan Shooter

Kings Dining & Entertainment – Balsamic Marinated Portobello Mushroom Crostini & Rosemary Marinated Beef Crostini

Orlando Brewing

Clean Eatz – Chipotle Shrimp Bowl with Sweet Chili Sauce

Rosen Plaza Hotel – 3Nine Ceviche, Cuban Quesadilla

Gordon Food Service – Trail Tacos, S’mores

Jack’s Place – Lamb Machaca

Rosen Centre Hotel – Root Beer Braised Oxtail Soft Taco, Harry’s Poolside Drunken Jumbo Shrimp, Grilled Flank Montadito, Rosen Centre Sweet Treats

Cala Bella – Grilled Octopus Salad, Citrus Vinaigrette, Classic Bolognese Beef, Ragu Cavatappi Pasta, Pistachio Tarts & Tiramisu, Chef Candice Desserts

A Land Remembered – Pine Island Steakhouse Salad Cups – Point Reyes Blue Cheese Vinaigrette/Cheery Wood Bacon/Pickled Red Onion/Chopped Egg/Sweetie Drop Peppers, Sous-Vide Rib-eye of Beef – Pan Seared Lobster Mashed Potatoes/Cognac Brandied Cream

Jim Beam Highball


Capa at Four Seasons – Pulpo – Octopus/Black Bean/Hummus/Cilantro

Vital Flair Catering – Bacon Wrapped Chicken on a Stick, Smoked Brisket Parfait, Vegetarian Chili

Crooked Can Brewing Company

ACF Central Florida Chapter – Meatball Sliders Served with Cole Slaw

Sysco Food Service – Hawaiian Octopus Poke – Red Seaweed/Cucumber/Onion/Shoyu/Sesame Oil, Vegan Paow Ceviche – Mango/Red Pepper/Cilantro/Serrano Pepper/Onion/Lime

Noi Caffe by Rico Foods

 Yak Yeti – Dungeness Crab Ravioli in a Malaysian coconut red curry sauce

Florida Nitro – Raspberry Martini with Titos Vodka, Raspberry Sorbet.

For more information, please visit:

Guy Fieri and Robert Earl’s Chicken Guy! opens in Winter Park, FL, debuting the brand’s first drive-thru and stand-alone location

Chicken Guy!, the fast/casual eatery by chef, New York Times Best Selling author and Emmy Award-winning TV host, Guy Fieri and internationally renowned restaurateur, Robert Earl, opened yesterday in Winter Park, Florida, debuting the brand’s first drive-thru and stand-alone restaurant.

Located on 818 South Orlando Avenue, Winter Park’s new unofficial “Chicken Strip District”, the restaurant joins the flagship location at Disney Springs® as its second location in Central Florida.

Guests can enjoy Fieri’s signature chicken tenders, sandwiches, sides and choice of 22 house-made dipping sauces inside the restaurant’s dining room, drive-thru or pick up curbside at specially reserved parking spaces via the Chicken Guy! mobile app or online at

“I love Central Florida, so I’m stoked to bring our second Chicken Guy! to the area,” said
Guy Fieri. “As our guests have come to know, our chicken tenders and sandwiches are the real deal, so bring your appetite and find out why they call me the Boss of Sauce!”

Chicken Guy! features all-natural chicken tenders — hand-pounded to maximize crunch, brined in fresh lemon juice, pickle brine, buttermilk and infused with fresh herbs — sandwiches, skewers and salads in addition to delectable sides such as Guy’s specially seasoned Chicken Guy! Fries, Mac Daddy Mac ‘n Cheese, fried pickles and fresh slaw that can all be paired with one (or all) of the house-made signature sauces, including Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ, Wasabi Honey, Donkey Sauce, Avocado Crema and more.

For dessert, Chicken Guy! offers creamy, hand-spun Flavortown shakes, available in six flavors: Triple Chocolate Mint, Apple Cinnamon Cereal, Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and Oreo.

“As always, I’m delighted to be working alongside my friend Guy Fieri on another
Chicken Guy! launch,” Planet Hollywood founder and chairman Robert Earl said. “We
want to make our brand more accessible for our devoted local consumer base and
opening a second location in a single market with a drive-thru does just that.”

Here is a first look at the menu items from Chicken Guy! in Winter Park:

All 22 house-made dipping sauces.

Five tenders – crispy fried.

The CG Classic – Two crispy fried chicken tenders, cheddar, special sauce & LTOP.  This was our favorite sandwich!

Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ – Two crispy fried chicken tenders, pepper jack, bourbon brown sugar BBQ sauce, special sauce, slaw, pickles & BBQ kettle chips.

Chicken Guy Fries – Signature fry seasoning.

Fried Pickle Chips – Buttermilk ranch sauce.  This was our favorite side!

Loaded Mac Daddy Mac ‘N’ Cheese – Smothered in SMC, chopped crispy or grilled chicken, bacon & green onions.

Triple Double Mint – Hand-spun mint chocolate soft serve, crushed Oreo© cookies, chocolate mints, chocolate syrup & fresh whipped cream.  This was our favorite dessert!

Apple Cinnamon Cereal – Hand-spun vanilla soft serve, Cinnamon Toast Crunch© & Apple Jacks© cereal & fresh whipped cream.

Chicken Guy! in Winter Park is open daily from 11AM – 9PM.  Be sure to check them out the next time you are in the area for their delicious signature chicken sandwiches and mouth-watering creations that you will never forget!

For more information, visit:

Contributing photographer: Ricky Ly.

Chicken Guy!
818 S. Orlando Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789

A Foodie’s Tour of Shiraz Market with State Representative Anna Eskamani of Central Florida

Anna Vishkaee Eskamani is currently a Florida State House Representative from the 47th district in Orange County. Born and raised in Orlando, she’s the daughter of working class immigrants who came to Florida in search of the American Dream. She is also a graduate of Orange County Public Schools and the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!).

Anna has been a leading voice and advocate for Florida families and small businesses during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, helping to open one of Orange County’s first testing sites at the University of Central Florida, as well as emphasizing the importance of wearing a mask, and practicing CDC guidelines to stop the spread of this virus.

In addition to fighting for worker’s benefits, Anna has also focused on housing and food security. She’s worked with tenants and landowners to help prevent evictions and halt rent increases. She’s asked the Governor to put into place a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures while working around the clock to identify financial resources so folks can pay their bills on time.

She’s also worked with Second Harvest Food Bank to connect the hungry with nutritional meals, has delivered meals herself to constituents, helped to prevent homelessness by direct cash support to families and connections to local nonprofits, and ensured Floridians in need were able to process their SNAP and TANF applications.

She made history as the first Iranian-American elected to any public office in Florida and has championed critical issues like economic justice, environmental protection, equality for all, funding for public schools, human trafficking and sexual assault prevention, and support of arts and culture funding.

We recently visited Shiraz Market in Longwood, Florida with State Representative Anna Eskamani and soon-to-be-retired Orlando Sentinel Opinions Editor Mike Lafferty. Mike Lafferty spent a few years in Iran before the Iranian Revolution in the 1960s growing up and so we wanted to break some Iranian bread together before he retired.

Anna was gracious enough to give us a little tour of Shiraz Market (recently featured in Andrew Zimmern’s Zimmern List on his apology visit to Orlando) and point our some of her favorite items to get there as well as chat with us about what is going on in her life –

Tasty Chomps Q and A with Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani

Tasty Chomps: What are your favorite memories around Persian/Iranian food growing up?
Anna Eskamani: My mom was an incredible cook, and we grew herbs in our backyard too. So there was always fresh mint and parsley around the house, and when you make Persian food (especially in a small home like ours) your neighbors can smell something good cooking. So my favorite memories are helping my Mom in the kitchen, and eating on the floor in the living room on a sofreh, which is basically a cloth on which food is served.
What is something most people don’t know about Iranian food/culture/
It has an incredibly rich history — we’re talking about from the 8th century BC.
Because of Iran’s strategic position on the Silk Road, the ancient highway that snaked from China to Europe, the caravans of tea, spice and silk passing through also carried with it Persian culture and food.
Foods like saffron, naan, tandoori chicken, samosa, kebab, lemon, tamarind, pistachio and jujube — all have some sort of Persian roots.
 What are your Top 3 must get items at Shiraz Market / Persian/Iranian markets?
Persian bread, jars of Ghormeh Sabzi (Iranian herb stew), and sweets from Saba Bakery.
What are your top 3 favorite Persian/Iranian dishes of all time?
This is a really hard question! I’m going to have to go with Ghormeh Sabzi, Khoresht-e fesenjan (Persian Chicken Stew), and Tahdig (crunchy rice!)
What are some of your favorite memories on your visit to Iran back in 2005?
My first ever trip to Iran was in 2005 to bring my Mom’s ashes to rest in the Caspian Sea. We visited two more times after that.
My favorite memories are spending time with my family and visiting Iran’s many museums and historical sites.
Tell us about your plans in the coming months and years as we gear up for 2022? 
We are all hands on deck to keep serving our constituents as we work collectively to get out of this pandemic.
We’re also working through my political organization People Power for Florida to register more people to vote, too!
What can people do in Central Florida to support diverse food, culture and communities?
Shop local! Check out a local restaurant that you’ve never visited before, bring your friends and be willing to try new things too.
Thank you Representative Anna for all you do for our community! To learn more, visit 
Anna is a vegetarian so the below are a few shots from what Mike and I ordered at Shiraz Market – delish!
Beef and Chicken Kebabs

Lavash Bread

Ghorma Sabzi Stew

Loobia Polo Rice with Beef and Green Beans


Shiraz Market
188 S US Hwy 17 92, Longwood, FL 32750
(407) 637-5967

Inside Look: Dave’s Hot Chicken is Now Open in Denver, CO

Dave’s Hot Chicken‘s latest location is officially open in Denver, Colorado. Located at 1615 Platte St., the popular chicken restaurant celebrated its grand opening Friday, Nov. 12. Dave’s Hot Chicken, which specializes in hot chicken sliders and tenders, has 32 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

We were invited to try out the menu for ourselves during the new location’s media preview, and we were thoroughly impressed.

View each location’s pricing on the “Order Now!” or “Locations” tab when ordering for pickup.Text-only version of menu

Inside Look: Dave’s Hot Chicken is Now Open in Denver, CO

We ordered a Combo #2 (2 Sliders W/ Fries) and a Combo #3 (1 Tender + 1 Slider W/ Mac & Cheese). What sets Dave’s Hot Chicken apart from its competitors is the spice and seasoning, which you can taste in every bite.

When ordering, you select either No Spice, Lite Mild, Mild, Medium, Hot, Extra Hot and Reaper. We went with Medium, which added a nice kick.

If you want to upgrade your side of Fries, you can choose from Mac & Cheese, Kale Slaw, Cheese Fries, Single Slider or Single Tender.

For more information about Dave’s Hot Chicken, visit



Foodie’s Guide to Phoenix, AZ: Our 4 Day Itinerary for Food Lovers

Phoenix, Arizona is a growing city flourishing with history, culture and a diverse culinary scene. Located in the southwestern U.S., Phoenix is known for its year-round warmth and sunny weather. The desert terrain and theming is present from the moment you exit the airport, and continues throughout the city creating an entirely unique atmosphere.

Whether you’re interested in the arts, sports, history, outdoor adventure, wellness, shopping or if you simply want to visit a city with amazing food, Phoenix should absolutely be on your list.

We were invited by Visit Phoenix to explore the city and embrace its array of unique dining experiences. Here is our Foodie’s Guide to Phoenix, Arizona.

Foodie’s Guide to Phoenix, AZ: Our 4 Day Itinerary for Food Lovers

Day 1

Check into FOUND:RE Phoenix

FOUND:RE is a modern boutique hotel conveniently located in the heart of downtown Phoenix. This property is an art lover’s dream. It offers unique amenities from spacious suites to delicious on-site dining, but what really makes this hotel so special is its dedication to art. FOUND:RE is a love letter to local artists, featuring a rotating gallery throughout the property that is updated every 4 months.

During our stay, we stayed in a Balcony King Suite, which offered ample privacy and a ton of space. We highly recommend this suite for the most luxurious experience at FOUND:RE Phoenix.

During our stay, FOUND:RE presented an art collection titled “Landscapes, City Skates and Line Scapes.” We were lucky enough to go on a tour of the entire gallery led by FOUND:RE’s very own art curator: Audrey Galat.

Lunch at Clever Koi

Clever Koi is a modern Asian fusion food spot located in Central Phoenix. This restaurant offers a tasty variety of Asian-inspired dishes as well as unique adult beverages and an unforgettable atmosphere.

Cocktails at Clever Koi are a must. We ordered the Ba New New (left) which featured Denizen rum, Heriloom Genepy, Tempus Fugit Banane, vanilla syrup, lime, muddle banana and angostura float. We also went with the Riding the Pine cocktail (middle) made with Gun Club 100 Proof Gin, Lillet Rouge Aperitif, lime juice and passionfruit syrup.

The Calamari Fries are an exceptional choice for an appetizer. Made with tempura, mint, furikake and yuzu aioli, this dish puts a lighter, more modern spin on your classic calamari.

The Steamed Buns were phenomenal. We ordered the Korean Hot Chicken, Kimchi Cauliflower and Pork Belly Buns. All three were savory and delicious, but if you can only try one it should definitely be the Korean Hot Chicken Bun.

If you’re looking for ramen that is authentic, made with fresh ingredients, and above all delicious, Clever Koi is your spot. We enjoyed the Spicy Kimchi Ramen (top), the Pork Ramen (left) and the Lemon Pepper Chicken Ramen (right). We aren’t exaggerating when we say this is some of the best ramen we’ve had in a long time. Fair warning: the portions are extremely generous, so be ready to enjoy the leftovers.

Phoenix Art Museum

Staying true to the ever-present art theme throughout the city of Phoenix, we stopped by Phoenix Art Museum after lunch to discover the lovely exhibits on display. You can easily spend hours at this museum, exploring the many bold and inspiring exhibitions.

Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama

Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia

Dinner at The Duce

One thing we quickly noticed about Phoenix was the warm weather, which is appreciated all year round. Many restaurants we stopped by throughout our trip offered an abundance of outdoor seating, and The Duce was no exception. This spot has been featured on popular food shows such as Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and for good reason.

To drink, we started with the Organic Peach Cobbler2012 cocktail (Tru Organic Gin, Fruit Lab Orange Liqueur, organic peaches, organic lemons, agave, soda) and the SanTan Epicenter Amber Ale.

For dinner, we enjoyed four of The Duce’s most famous dishes: the Duce Mac and Cheese Muffins, Strawberry Pecan Salad, Chicken Pot Pie Jar and the Prairie Pasta. All four dishes offered delicious flavors reminiscent of a home cooked meal from Mom.

For dessert, we had the mouthwatering Cinnamon Cheesecake. As you can imagine, it was decadent. If you’re a dessert person, we recommend going early because desserts at The Duce can sell out quickly!

Day 2

Breakfast at Daily Dose Midtown

Daily Dose Midtown is a popular locally-owned Phoenix eatery offering breakfast and lunch daily. This spot has the feel of a small-town diner with the menu variety of a big city restaurant.

We order two of Daily Dose Midtown’s most popular menu items: The Hangover Sandwich and the Cinnamon Roll Cakes. The Hangover Sandwich features peppered bacon, turkey sausage, cheddar/jack, caramelized jalapeño, onion, harissa aioli and one egg, served on sourdough with herb potato and fresh fruit.

The Cinnamon Roll Cakes are made with cinnamon filled buttermilk batter and topped with sweet vanilla icing. Surprisingly, this breakfast treat is sweet without it being overpowering. It’s a must-have the next time you find yourself at Daily Dose.

Desert Botanical Garden

Located just north of Tempe, Desert Botanical Garden features over 50,000 unique desert plants on display throughout the 55-acre property. Guests are invited to explore the five themed trails highlighting conservation, desert living, desert wildflowers and plants and people of the Sonoran Desert.

Desert Botanical Garden is extremely vast, so we recommend setting aside at least a few hours to enjoy the garden at your own pace.

Lunch at Lylo Swim Club

After admiring Desert Botanical Garden we made our way to Lylo Swim Club, a trendy poolside bar and restaurant located at Rise Uptown Hotel in Phoenix. This hidden gem offers a variety of Hawaiian-Japanese influenced bites and over-the-top cocktails, with a fun and Instagram-worthy atmosphere.

As someone with Orlando roots, I couldn’t say no to the Dole Whipped cocktail, made with El Dorado 5yr and Dark Hamilton demerara rums. The soft serve is wonderfully reminiscent of Walt Disney World, but with a yummy adult twist. This Hawaiian-themed cocktail is incredibly refreshing, making it the ideal drink for a warm Phoenix afternoon.

For lunch, we enjoyed the Togarashi Fries, Veggie Musubi, Mochiko Fried Chicken Sandwich and the Spicy Tuna Bowl.

The Togarashi Fries were delicious, made with crispy garlic, lemon mayo, jalapeño and cilantro. You can also add KBBQ beef on top for an additional $4.

The Veggie Musubi is a light and tasty snack, made with pickled daikon, cucumber, ginger and avocado.

The Mochiko Fried Chicken Sandwich is a yummy lunch option featuring the flavors of spicy mayo and peanut slaw with a toasted potato bun, served with a side of Mac Salad.

The Spicy Tuna Bowl features avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, eel sauce, furikake and sesame on top of tasty spicy tuna and rice. The combination of flavors works really well, and we highly recommend trying out this dish for yourself.

Drinks at Lucky’s Indoor Outdoor

Lucky’s Indoor Outdoor is a new downtown Phoenix hangout spot with an exciting retro atmosphere. It features a cozy indoor space and an exciting outdoor patio, complete with a 1970’s trailer bar, rotating food trucks, picnic tables and bocce ball. It’s also only steps away from FOUND:RE, making it a great spot to stop by if you’re staying at the hotel.

We enjoyed some drinks at Lucky’s to kick off our evening.

The Irish Bird is a beautiful cocktail served in a pineapple glass. It’s made with rum finished small batch Irish whiskey, pineapple, peach, lemon, campari, luxardo cherry and mint.

The Speghett is another tasty option, taking a Miller High Life and adding aperol and lemon.

The Lucky Negroni features strawberry infused gin, torino vermouth, rhubarb amaro and lemon.

Dinner at Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana

After drinks, we made our way to Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana for dinner. Pomo Pizzeria offers an authentic Italian experience, featuring delicious menu items using culinary methods originating from Napoli, Italy. Pomo is the first and only APN (Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani) and VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana) certified restaurant in Arizona.

For our starter, we ordered the Italian Board, which is the chef’s selection of cured Italian meats and cheeses.

We also enjoyed the Mediterranea Bruschette, which features an avocado spread topped with cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

For our first entree, we went with the Gnocchi Sorrentina and we were certainly not disappointed. This gnocchi dish is made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmigiano and basil, and it is nothing short of delicious.

You can’t eat at Pomo Pizzeria and not order one of their famous pizzas. We had The Burratella which is made with imported burrata cheese, hot soppressata, local organic honey, mozzarella, chili thread and basil. Pizzas here are also very easy to customize, and we decided to make our pie half meatless for the vegetarians in our party (spoiler: it was amazing both ways).

For dessert, you may have a hard time deciding which decadent treat to enjoy. The good news is you can’t go wrong! We tried Pomo’s Gingerbread Gelato, which was rich, sweet and creamy.

We also went with the Panna Cotta (a personal favorite dessert of mine), and as you can imagine, it was delectable.

Day 3

Brunch at ZuZu

We ventured to Scottsdale for our brunch this morning, and it was absolutely worth the short commute. ZuZu is a 1950’s themed restaurant located inside of Hotel Valley Ho, which maintains the same intentional theming. ZuZu offers brunch and dinner daily, with show-stopping menu items made to impress.

There are many delicious brunch options to choose from at ZuZu. We ordered the Sticky Icky Buns, Truffle Parmesan Fries, Brie + Strawberry Toast, Biscuits + Gravy and the Fried Chicken Bánh Mì Sliders.

The Brie + Strawberry Toast is just as mouthwatering as you’d imagine. Made with brie cheese melted over toast and topped with fresh strawberries, balsamic glaze, jalapeño and microgreens, this treat was a winner for us.

No exaggeration — the Biscuits + Gravy at ZuZu might be one of the best we’ve ever had. Savory cheddar chive biscuits are topped with sausage gravy, bird’s eye chili hot sauce, two sunny eggs and scallions to create this tasty dish.

If you’re the type of person who prefers lunch to brunch, the Fried Chicken Bánh Mì Sliders are a great option. Crispy fried chicken is topped with gochujang aioli, pickled veggies and cilantro, served with your choice of a side.

Another great menu item that works for both brunch and lunch lovers is the Truffle Parmesan Fries. The fries come with a side of lemon herb aioli that complements the flavors wonderfully.

Last but certainly not least, the Sticky Icky Buns are the definition of a show-stopper menu item. The buns are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and topped with delicious cinnamon sweet cream and candied walnuts. 10/10.

Drinks at Greenwood Brewing

After a day of exploring Phoenix at your leisure, Greenwood Brewing is the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy some brews. Greenwood Brewing is a woman-owned brewery with a focus on inclusivity. The atmosphere here is both friendly and welcoming, and we can’t recommend it enough.

We started our night off with the Blueberry Wheat. This brew is one of our favorites. You can taste the notes of blueberry, but it isn’t too sweet or overpowering. The Blueberry Wheat is a great choice for a warm evening under the sun.

Greenwood Brewing also offer beer flights, which we highly recommend ordering, especially if you’re having a hard time deciding which beer to go with. We ordered the flight with (from left to right) the Herstory Pale Ale, Luna Amber Ale, Harvest Diem Spiced Ale (seasonal for fall) and the Blueberry Wheat. All four brews were delicious and worth a try.

Greenwood Brewing also partners with local Phoenix artists from time to time, to create the artwork featured on their beer cans.

Megan Greenwood is the founder and owner of Greenwood Brewing. She adds to the warmth and comfort of this spot, and during our visit she was even kind enough to give us a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery.

All beer is brewed in-house at Greenwood Brewing.

While I enjoyed every beer I sampled during this visit, The Harvest Diem Spiced Ale had to be my favorite.

Dinner at Trapp Haus BBQ

For dinner, head right next door to Trapp Haus BBQ: the first brick-and-mortar restaurant from Phill Johnson, aka “Phill the Grill.” This spot has a more casual hole-in-the-wall vibe, making it great for any occasion. You’ll be greeted by the mouthwatering aroma of fresh-cooked bbq upon arrival, and it only gets better from there.

We ordered a Combo Platter with Burnt Ends, Smoked Chicken, Smoked Mac & Cheese and Seasoned Waffle Fries. We couldn’t stop there though, so we added on two additional sides of Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread and Country Potato Salad. This bbq feast was nothing short of outstanding outstanding.

Every menu item we tried from Trapp Haus BBQ was great, however the Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread stood out. This tasty cornbread is slightly sweet, slightly spicy and incredibly fluffy like a muffin.

Day 4

Breakfast at Match Market & Bar

Conveniently located right in the lobby of FOUND:RE Phoenix, Match Market & Bar is a trendy cafe, market and bar. At the market, you can find an assortment of goodies, from cook books to plants and everything in between. It’s the perfect spot to go shopping for unique gifts, but what makes it even better is the quick-service cafe attached which serves up an impressive breakfast.

We ordered two Iced Vanilla Oat Milk Lattes, which were delicious.

For breakfast, we enjoyed the Breakfast Burrito and the Lemon Ricotta Waffles. Both dishes were beautiful to look at, and even tastier to eat.

The Breakfast Burrito is served with your choice of bacon, sausage, house-made chorizo or avocado (we went with avocado) as well as scrambled eggs, potatoes, peppers, onions, cheddar cheese and house-made salsa on a wheat tortilla. It was a fantastic breakfast option for those who prefer something light and savory.

The Lemon Ricotta Waffles are ideal for those who want something on the sweet side. This dish is served with fresh blueberry jam, and the combination of flavors is delightful.

Lunch at Arizona Wilderness Brewing

This wouldn’t be a Foodie’s Guide to Phoenix without mentioning Arizona Wilderness Brewing. This brewery is a favorite of locals and visitors alike, offering an impressive beer menu in addition to extensive food offerings. We stopped by the Arizona Wilderness downtown Phoenix location for our final lunch in the city, and it was worth the wait.

We started off with the Don’t F#%k It Up Blonde Ale and the Cactus Juice Sour. Both brews get an A+ from us.

For eats, we shared the Wilderness Duck Fat Fries, Green Chili Pulled Pork Sliders, Belgian Waffle Battered Onion Rings and the Vegan Ramona Farms Red Pepper Hummus. Each dish was packed full of flavor, and paired perfectly with our refreshing beers.

Arizona Wilderness is a wonderful spot to visit with a group a friends to enjoy the warm Phoenix weather, share some tasty bites and begin tackling their lengthy beer menu.

If you don’t have a ton of time, you can still stop by Arizona Wilderness and pick up a couple beers to-go.

Whether you’re looking to relax, enjoy some culture or have a foodie adventure (or all of the above), Phoenix is an excellent option for your next vacation. For more information about Phoenix, go to

Holiday Gift Ideas from A Spoonful of Hope and Holiday Party Catering from Catering for Good – In Support of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

A Spoon Full of Hope

A Spoon Full of Hope is a social enterprise endeavor created in 2018 to provide sustainable support for Second Harvest Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program. As the Culinary Training Program continues to impact more lives, A Spoon Full of Hope continues to diversify and expand its product line to offer fresh, locally-sourced and locally-made souphoney, and cookies.

The program is at the core of A Spoon Full of Hope. 100% of the proceeds from the product line help launch new careers, transform lives and create new jobs. To date, 385 students have graduated the program with a 95% job placement rate. Learn how your purchase today makes an impact in the lives of the students by reading their stories.

Visit to view recipes, student stories and our full product line.

A Spoon Full of Hope is available for purchase with a sprinkle of holiday magic. Share the gift guide with your friends to inspire gift-giving ideas or purchase a gift for a family member, friend, or yourself and enjoy your treats. Your purchase helps lift up the men and women that go through our Culinary Training Program. You can purchase online at

Download the A Spoon Full of Hope Gift Guide here

Catering for Good

In addition to holiday gifts, Catering for Good is now accepting orders for holiday catering. The Kitchen team has put together a splendid spread of holiday classics with elevated flavors that will make your mouth water and ensure everyone at your gathering will want to take home leftovers. Orders can be made by contacting Lanette Again, share with your network if you hear of folks hosting events for their work, family gathering, or friends-giving. We have the best chefs waiting to relieve their stress of prepping and organizing the food for their event. The menu is attached, and you can find a digital menu on

Make Your Event A Life Changer

Catering for Good is a full-service caterer offering high quality food and service. Our services include corporate deliveries, pickups, luncheons, weddings, holiday parties and special events.

Menu selections are prepared by our award-winning Chef Jill Holland from scratch using only the freshest high quality ingredients from locally sourced reputable food distributors. Food donations are not used for catering. View photos.

Our catering and events team works closely with you to realize your vision and assist you in selecting the perfect menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktail reception. We can either serve you and your guests in our venue or at an off-sight location such as your home, office, or other area venues.

The revenue generated by your event will transform lives and supports our Culinary Training Program.

Plan your next workshop, association luncheon, corporate event, holiday party, bar or bat mitzvah, wedding, shower, anniversary and birthday party with us and you will enjoy catering that not only tastes good but does good! View catering menu.

Rooms Available For Your Event

Second Harvest is one the most unique venues in Central Florida. Our 100,000-square-foot facility provides an opportunity to host a memorable experience in one of our state of the art Community Rooms and can accommodate guests from 10 to 200. Each room offers built in AV equipment and is included in the room rental. Our beautiful Atrium is perfect for a reception or corporate mixer.

The Second Harvest Community Room
A 3,100-square-foot space designed as an affordable gathering place for meetings and special events. An optional picture-window view of our distribution warehouse is available. The Community Room offers state-of-the-art AV.

Bank of America Board Room
This area offers all the necessary functionality for your important meeting, including free WiFi, audio conferencing capabilities and AV.

The Atrium
A great setting to mingle, this space is ideal for cocktail receptions and networking events.

The Warehouse
An open and dynamic event space well-suited for large-scale functions, this space can be used for parties and weddings, as well as corporate engagements.

Proceeds from your event will transform lives and supports Second Harvest Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program.

Boxed Lunch Delivery

In light of current events, our delicious boxed lunches are now available for delivery only on orders for 25 guests or more.

Available Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Please call Lanette Jarvis at 407-514-1048 to place your order 48 hours in advance.

View the boxed lunch menu.

Lanette Jarvis
Catering for Good and Plates of Plenty
Sales Manager
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
411 Mercy Drive
Orlando, FL 32805-1019
407-514-1048 direct line

Chef Tung Phan launches Camille pop-up, Orlando’s Only Modern Vietnamese Chef’s Table Experience

Orlando recently got its first modern French-Vietnamese pop-up, served Chef’s table-style at Audubon Park’s East End Market.

Camille, an intimate eight-seat Chef-to-guest dining experience led by Chef Tung Phan, opened last month on the second floor of East End Market at Domu Lab which is in the kitchen of The Neighbors, a new neighborhood store that sells local goods and fun cocktails, headed by East End Market founder, John Rife, and Freehand Goods proprietor, Jacob Zepf.

Chef Tung is the first resident chef at Domu Lab to host a pop-up, and hopes to gain exposure for the new concept. A chef’s incubator by design, Domu Lab will host rotating pop-ups for local chefs to showcase their talents under the mentorship of restaurateur partners Sonny Nguyen and Johnny Tung.

Chef Tung plans on working in the space for at least six months before moving into a permanent brick-and-mortar location, with his eyes on the Mills 50 area.  With its deep, rich history of Vietnamese immigration in the 1970s, Mills 50 is known as “Viet Town” to locals and is home to the most concentrated Vietnamese population in Florida. The Viet Town area has special significance to Chef Tung.

Born in Vietnam, but raised American, Tung’s family moved to the midwest just a year after he was born, and then relocated to Orlando when he was 12 years old. An Orlando resident for nearly 20 years, Tung is a seasoned veteran with a decade of experience in the culinary industry. Along with being a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, where he learned the fundamentals of classical French cooking, Chef Tung has worked at the award-winning Victoria and Alberts at Walt Disney World Resort, and Isleworth Country Club. Chef Tung has also been mentored by Michelin-starred classical French Chef Pascal Sanchez.

At age 14, Tung gained his first experience in the industry, scrubbing dishes at a restaurant owned by a family friend. At that time, Tung had no interest in paving a career in the culinary field. The real turning point came during his trips to Europe and Southeast Asia, where he traveled as an acrobatic performer. This is where he discovered different food cultures, people, and regional ingredients, and ultimately, where his love of cooking was cultivated.

“I chose Vietnamese cuisine as a means of finding my identity, and going back to my roots. I just wanted to honor that — know more about where my family came from, and pay homage to the food as well,” says Tung.

The seven-course prix fixe menu features modern Vietnamese-inspired dishes with global influences.  With Vietnamese cuisine already heavily influenced by France after over a century of occupancy, much of the menu will lean towards French-Vietnamese fusion. The menu items will be based on seasonality with an emphasis on premium-quality ingredients, either sourced locally or flown in, such as A5 wagyu, exotic truffles and caviar, fresh Florida pompano, and locally-grown citrus.

“It’s very challenging. Opening Camille is almost like being a pioneer — taking the vibrant food culture of Vietnam and presenting it in a more refined, progressive way,” says Tung.

In naming the concept, Chef Tung drew inspiration from his first-born daughter, whose middle name is Camille. The word, translated in French, means “perfect and pure.” And perfection is exactly what Tung strives for in his dishes — creating food that is pure to him, with experiences he’s discovered on his past travels.

Camille’s current hours are Wednesdays through Sunday at 5pm & 8pm.  Reservations must be made in advance at:

Here are photos from Camille’s seven-course dinner:

SURF & TURF BANH MI – Hackleback Caviar, Rainbow Trout Roe, Prosciutto, Pate Foam

KEY WEST PINK SHRIMP – Lotus Stems, Bourbon Aged Nuoc Cham, Mint, Citrus Supreme

CURRY OF DUNGENESS CRAB – Patagonian Tooth Fish, Thai Basil Essence, Okinawa Sweet Potato

DUCK & TAPIOCA CONGEE – Mushroom Duxelles, Sunchokes, Red Wine & Tamarind Gastrique


AUSTRALIAN WAGYU TENDERLOIN – Broken Rice Fritter, Pickled Vegetables, Hoisin & Truffle Jus

DRAGONFRUIT – Finger Lime, Lychee & Rose Bud Granita

GINGER ROASTED PEAR – Vietnamese Coffee, Meringue Crisp, Brown Butter Ice Cream

GREEN TEA MATCHA – lavender from The Heavy in Winter Park.

Our experience was phenomenal.  As an Orlando native, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about my Vietnamese culture and experiencing the traditional ingredients in a refined and progressive approach.  I was blown away the entire time and I am looking forward to seeing what Chef Tung has planned next in the bright future ahead of him.  Be sure to check out his pop-up residency at Domu Lab, highly recommended!

For more information and to make a reservation, visit:

Drink Around Pointe Orlando – A Food Lover’s Guide to the Best Drinks to Order at Pointe Orlando

The Pointe is an open-air entertainment destination on International Drive, featuring local and brand-name restaurants, bars, nightclubs, 20-screen movie theater, comedy club, and attractions. The Pointe really comes alive after dark, when playtime for adults switches into full gear.

We thought it would be a fun idea to come up with a list of signature drinks from each of the establishments at The Pointe for those who want to do a “drink around the world” tour.

Please remember – always drink responsibly and help prevent drunk driving.

Did you know that there are also many private party opportunities at The Pointe Orlando? People can host bachelorette/bachelor, birthday, corporate, holiday and other celebration private parties here and they can do partial single-venue buyouts up to almost a full center buyout.  For a great starting place and Venue Guide with capacities, please visit:

Here is “Our Guide to Drink Around Pointe Orlando” – A Food Lover’s Guide to the Best Drinks to Order at Pointe Orlando

1. Taverna Opa – The Mykonos Dream

The Mykonos Dream – EG Inspiration Rosemary & Lavender vodka / mint / cucumber / dill / St. Germain elderflower liqueur

2. Hampton Social – Frose

Frose – Tito’s Vodka, Proverbs rose, peach

3. Marlow’s Tavern – Blueberry Buck

Blueberry Buck – Classic Tavern Favorite…Smirnoff Blueberry, Fresh Lime, Ginger Beer, Fresh Nutmeg

4. The Pub – Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned – Classic Old Fashioned | 10 Woodford Reserve Bourbon, bitters, Luxardo cherry

5. The Capital Grille – Stoli Doli

Stoli Doli – Stolichnaya Vodka infused with fresh Hawaiian pineapples

6. Rodizio Grill – Caipirinha

Caipirinha – Fresh limes and Brazilian Cachaça (a unique Brazilian freshly distilled liquor from Sugar Cane). Saúde!

7. The Blue Martini – Blue Martini

Blue Martini – Van Gogh Blue Vodka, Bols Blue Curacao, Sour, Orange Juice, Served On The Rocks In An Oversized Snifter

8. Cuba Libre – Classic Mojito

Classic Mojito – Cuba Libre White Rum, fresh-pressed sugar cane (guarapo), fresh-squeezed lime juice, mint, and splash of soda.


9. Dessert – Taverna Opa – Baklava Coquito

Baklava Coquito – Something sweet – RumChata / Captain Morgan / cinnamon / baklava syrup

Start playing now and Get to The Pointe. Stay social @pointeorlando.

Garage and valet parking available for a nominal fee. Ask your server for validation options while enjoying The Pointe.

New Restaurant Openings and Closings in Orlando – 11/12/2021 Edition

Some news on the restaurant front in Orlando/Central Florida this week:

Smoke and Donuts opening brick-and-mortar in the Milk District via Bungalower

Popular food truck Smoke and Donuts (Facebook Website) has just signed a lease for the former home of Kernel Encore at 601 N. Primrose Drive [GMap], just by Se7enbites.

Smoke and Donuts will offer lunch and dinner dine-in, take-out, third-party delivery, and catering options out of their new home, which is just around the corner from their current stomping grounds at A La Cart, where they’ve been a resident food truck since June 2020.

Avalon Park Eatery Closes

Red-Eye’s Git-n-Messy Smokehouse is now open inside of Henry’s Depot Food Hall!

Pictured here is their 3-meat-sampler and it’s as juicy and delicious as we remember! Our friend Chef Chuck Cobb would be proud! via Historic Downtown Sanford


Orlando Thanksgiving Specials 2021 – MegaList

Orlando Thanksgiving Specials 2021 – Mega List – this list is continuing to be updated. send any specials to us at

Highlights include:

Tap Room at Dubsdread

Thanksgiving Day Buffet – 11am to 4pm

$44.95 for adults plus 18% grat and tax

$14.95 children 10 and under

Menu below – Reservations required – call 407-650-0100

Aurora At the Celeste Hotel – Thanksgiving Menu

Heirloom – Thanksgiving Family Meal Delivered



Free local delivery on Tuesday, November 23rd or Wednesday, November 24th based on location, areas that typically receive delivery on Thursday will be delivered on Wednesday. 
Orders must be placed by 12:00 pm on Sunday, November 21st

Enjoy chef prepared meals delivered locally to your door in Orlando, Tampa and surrounding areas by using code “TASTYCHOMPS” to take $25 off your first order, no expiration or exclusions.

Christini’s Italiano Ristorante

November 25, 2021

Open from 4pm

– Antipasti –
Insalata con Funghetti e Spinaci
Baby spinach, sautéed wild mushroom, crispy Maplewood smoked bacon, honey mustard vinaigrette
Ravioli di Zucca
Homemade roasted butternut squash stuffed ravioli, brown butter and sage sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano

– Piatto Principale –
North Carolina Heritage Turkey
Traditional Stuffing
Sweet Potato Purée
Haricot Vert
Homemade Cranberry Sauce

– Dolci –
Tart Tatin
Baked apple tart with caramel glaze
Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate marscapone mousse with strawberry compote

$67.50 per person
(Children under 12 half price)

Please note that in addition to this special holiday menu,
our a la carte menu is also available.

Please call (407) 545-6867 to make your dinner reservation

Thanksgiving at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek

Thanksgiving at Grande Lakes Orlando Resort

MX Taco 

MX Taco taking orders/pre-payment required 407-730-5241


For the FIRST time in the history of our 8 amazing years we will be offering a full meal for 4 – $175

Here is what our celebration meal will consist of –

Sage Butter Roasted Turkey Breast
Bread & Cornbread Stuffing
Sweet & Red Potato Mash
Green Bean Casserole
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Orange Relish
Jalapeño Creamed Corn
5 Cheese Mac N Cheese
Cold Broccoli Salad
Parker House Rolls

4 individual Mile High Pumpkin Pies
Our holiday Pie and others offerings will be (as a reminder all of our pies come in a full size metal pie tin that you can return to us in exchange for a cookie!)
9” double crusted Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie $65
9” Mile High Pumpkin Pie $55
9” Double crusted Cranberry Apple Cointreau Pie $50
9” Chocolate Crack Pie $50

We will also be offering mini individual size of these 4 pies sold in sets of 12 – $84 (mix & match)

Peach Cranberry Cobbler $45
Hazelnut Brown Butter Coffee Cake $ 45

We will be taking orders through Sunday November 14th

As a reminder we are open
Thursday-Friday 8-3:30
Saturday-Sunday 9-3


All orders will be pre-pay only Cancellations accepted by close of business 3pm Sunday November 14 only.

Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn

Join us at our Table and enjoy a Chef Inspired Thanksgiving Feast

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Seatings at 12pm and 3pm

*If you have any special seating requests, please mention on your order.

$69 per adult

$29 per child (ages 5-12)

Children under 4 complimentary

Smokey Bones

Smokey Bones is offering a hot ready to pick up turkey dinner for Thanksgiving Day.

WHAT: Turkeys may be hard to come by this Thanksgiving, so order now and let Smokey Bones do the cooking for you! The Masters of Meat at Smokey Bones are using their expertise and smokers to serve the juiciest smoked turkeys with all the fixings this Thanksgiving Day. The turkey dinner can be picked up on Thanksgiving and comes hot and ready to serve. It includes a 12-14 lb. turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cornbread with pecan butter. The dinner feeds approximately eight people for $179. Add a spiral sliced and glazed ham for $89. Availability is limited and customers are encouraged to order ASAP.

WHO: Smokey Bones

WHEN: Order Now through Nov. 23, 2021

WHERE: Visit to find the location nearest you. Order via the phone or in person at the restaurant.