Oct 232014
 

It’s no secret that fall is synonymous with pumpkins, squash and apple pie, but after tasting one too many pumpkin lattes or seeing Trident Pumpkin Spice Gum (oh yes this exists), you might wonder what’s so special about fall flavors?

I’ll admit, I’m pumpkin obsessed, but this season I’ve decided to venture out beyond my pumpkin flavored coffee and experience fall’s bounty from pumpkins and beyond! Here’s our top picks for finding fall flavor around town:

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  • Buffalo Chicken Tenders (The Coop): Buffalo tenders, football games and tailgates are the epitome of fall Saturdays. Feed your friends with The Coop’s latest chicken addition, spicy and tangy Buffalo Chicken Tenders, also available by the bucket.

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  • Persimmon Salad (Cask & Larder): Royal trumpet mushrooms, butternut squash, loblolly tomme, arugula and mustard vinaigrette. It’s okay, I still don’t know how to pronounce loblolly tomme either, but this savory salad is unique, light and overloaded with nodes of fall.

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It may be 80 degrees outside, but at least we can pretend its fall with pumpkin flavors and seasonal vegetables!

 

 

Photo Credits: All images taken by restaurants respectively. 

Oct 222014
 

From makeup to dog toys, it seems as if everyone is jumping on the monthly “box” subscription trend. I’ve subscribed to everything from Birch Box to Bark Box, but nothing is as exciting as gourmet food arriving at your doorstep. A box of goodies is also the perfect gift for that impossible to buy for friend. After all, Christmas arrives in 62 days, 9 weeks and 1,527 hours {insert panic here}. After scouring the market for gourmet boxes, here’s our top picks including a local company, Five-Star Florida Finds, based out of Orlando.

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  • Candy Club: A premier candy of the month club offering a premium, monthly subscription service for candy lovers. Candy Club shipments are curated by the company’s in-house “sultans of sweet,” offering members a rotating variety of hard-to-find classic candies. Whether it’s the Haribo® Gummi Techno Bears or the Butterfields® Peach Buds, Candy Club’s experts are always on the hunt for the most unique confections. Click here to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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  • Mantry: Finally, gift solutions for the men in your life! Mantry delivers stories and food experiences today’s man can appreciate, enjoy and share. You’ll receive a modern American pantry to discover artisan food, what to do with it and maybe even impress the lady in your life. Items range from BBQ sauce crafted in Alabama, Bison Jerky from the foothills of Montana, Birch Syrup hand-harvested in Alaska and more. Everything arrives in a crate handmade in America. Doesn’t get more manly than that. Click here to send your man a box.

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  • Pickles Every Month: Typically reserved for backyard barbeques, sandwiches and people into canning, the pickle has recently taken a culinary turn. Every month you’ll receive an array of pickled cucumbers – spears, slices, whole cukes, sweet, spicy and smoky. These boxes also include jars of pickled produce such as beets, carrots, cauliflower, okra and more. As a bonus, the boxes come with a complimentary one-year subscription to Edible Magazine! Click here to order your pickles.

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Get your gluttony on with a gourmet treat from one of these fine purveyors.
Photo Credits: All images from each business respectively. 

Oct 212014
 

Capa restaurant has officially opened its doors at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Located on the 17th floor, the menu and setting of Capa is inspired by the Basque Culture, an area of northwest Spain and southwest France.

Capa’s cuisine is inspired by authentic Spanish offerings with a modern twist. Oysters and a Chef’s Seafood Tasting are available, as well as a cheeseboard and charcuterie board featuring Spanish cheeses with numerous breads, olives, prawns, anchovies and more. Their smaller plates include octopus, fluke, king crab, beets with goat curd, cauliflower with caper and egg, and radish with smoked yogurt and pomegranate.

The main courses at Capa include a seafood selection of snapper or halibut; a paella dish with Calasparra rice, mussels, clams, chicken, chorizo and peas; and an assortment of prime meats. The meats are expertly grilled on Capa’s wood-burning grill over American White Oak, a wood traditionally used in Spanish wine barrels that lends a unique flavor to the meat.  A variety of salsas are served to accompany the portions, including a jerez sherry reduction, a rioja red wine sauce, and a verde with cilantro, chives and parsley.

Capa will offer an array of Spanish influenced cocktails designed by James Beard-nominated barman Joe Cleveland. The signature Capa GinTonic features Carounn Gin, Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic and botanicals of green apple, key lime, juniper berries and edible marigolds. The Magic Mojito features minted rum, kiwi, and lime fairy floss (cotton candy). With three sommeliers on staff, Capa offers more than 50 selections of Spanish wine, including the traditional txakoli, a slightly sparkling, dry wine.

All of these bites and sips are served inside or on the expansive terrace.  Terrace diners will overlook woodlands, a lakeside setting with natural wetlands, the Tranquilo Golf Club greens, and views of all four of the Walt Disney World Resort parks. Terrace diners may be able to enjoy setback views of the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park, as well as the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show at Epcot.

Sounds like an all around good date night if you ask us! Capa is located at 10100 Dream Tree Boulevard., Golden Oak, FL 32836 and www.fourseasons.com/orlando.

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Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort

Capa on Urbanspoon

Oct 202014
 

James and Julie Petrakis, chefs/owners of The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder are back again with their newest creation, Swine & Sons Provisions. Scheduled to open February 2015, this third Winter Park operation from the James Beard-nominated husband/wife team will introduce a new takeout concept to The City Beautiful.

Located immediately west of Cask & Larder on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park, Swine & Sons Provisions will specialize in takeout charcuterie, butcher sandwiches, seasonally inspired homemade ice creams, signature spices and rubs, scratch-made biscuits, daily pastry offerings and more. {Insert happy dance here!}

“Since opening Ravenous Pig seven years ago and on the heels of celebrating Cask & Larder’s second anniversary, we’ve not only been humbled by the community’s support, but also its encouragement to keep growing,” said Julie Petrakis. “Swine & Sons Provisions is an extension of our first two locations but geared more to people with limited time or to those looking to recreate some of their favorite dishes at home.”

Keeping it in the “Swine Family,” Kailey Krips, currently a manager at Ravenous Pig, will also be part of the Swine & Sons Provisions launch team as its store manager.

“It’s a passion of Julie and I to keep our hometown on the forefront of the most progressive culinary trends,” said James Petrakis. “When conceptualizing Swine & Sons Provisions, we pulled inspiration from places like Craftsman & Wolves, Boccalone, Star Provisions and Two Boroughs Larder. We’re giving it a Florida twist and couldn’t be more excited to debut the new concept in Winter Park.”

Thank you James and Julie for continually making the Orlando culinary scene chic and tasty! www.SwineandSons.com

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Photo Credit: Swine & Sons

Oct 202014
 

Nestled behind Park Avenue is a hidden gem and mini oasis. Step behind the iron gates and you’re transported into a quaint courtyard that houses The Ancient Olive. If you missed our original post on The Ancient Olive, click here.

In addition to their fabulous gourmet goods this shop also hosts top culinary events from time to time. At November 10 at 5 p.m., don’t miss your chance to meet “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” and have their latest book, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes From the Farm and Garden signed by the authors.

Part of the proceeds from the purchase of the cookbooks will go to support Winter Park’s community event, Feed the Need, which provides funds to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Known best as “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” from their hit television reality show airing on Cooking Channel, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, have put their stylish stamp on seasonal living.  Their farm and surrounding community serves as the inspiration for their lifestyle brand, “Beekman 1802.”

From their hit TV show, bestselling books, product lines, massive social following, and a James Beard nominated lifestyle website, The Beekman Boys have been featured in most major media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, Vanity Fair, The Martha Stewart Show, O Magazine, and more.  With over 108,000 Facebook followers and over 34,000 Twitter followers, Beekman 1802 has been named One of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in America according to Nasdaq.

Don’t miss out on your chance to meet culinary royalty and taste some of the finest extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars!

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Beekman Vegetable cookbook photo
Photo Credit: The Beekman Boys

Oct 162014
 

Last night we feasted on some of Orlando’s best eats during the annual Winter Park Wine & Dine event. Located in the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, this sampling of 30 plus restaurants and businesses proves that Orlando is undoubtedly full of culinary talent. The event was full of old favorites and new finds, here’s some of our top picks from the evening.

  • Sushi Pop: Lil’ Kim-chi Roll with spicy tuna, avocado, tempura, shallots and topped with salmon, pickled cucumbers and thai basil. Sushi Pop’s rolls are worth trip to Oviedo and a strong contender for Orlando’s No. 1 sushi place.

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  • K Restaurant: Roast elk loin, red cabbage and roasted root veggies. The elk was tender and juicy while the diced vegetables were brimming with fall flavor.
  • Mellow Mushroom: Cheese pizza, sounds simple enough, but the seasoning on the crust is addictive. Their gluten free pizza is pretty darn tasty too, if only Mellow Mushroom delivered, they’d be on my speed dial.
  • The Coop: Mom’s Meatloaf, I thought I hated meatloaf until trying this gem! Their version is wrapped in bacon and packed with exceptional flavor. So good you’ll forget it’s meatloaf.
  • Rex Goliath: Red Wine Sangria, hard to believe it’s from a bottle! We will be searching for this during our next Publix run.

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  • Houndstooth Sauce Company: Under the direction of Chef David Bressler, this East End Market shop serves up handcrafted sauces, homemade soups, salads and sandwiches daily. After sampling their pimento cheese and chicken salad it’s clear Chef David knows how to cook the Southern way.
  • Brio: Two words, pumpkin ravioli. In the midst of pumpkin season, this pasta dish serves up fall flavor in an unexpected and delicious manner.
  • Cooper’s Hawk: For our original post on I-Drive’s newest restaurant, click here. Last night we sampled their Almond Sparkling wine which was full of almond cookie, maraschino cherry and nutmeg aromas.
  • Lineage Roasting: You’ll never crave Starbucks again after tasting Lineage ridiculously good Cold White Brew. Strong and smooth, Lineage knows how to serve the perfect bottle of coffee.

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  • Yogurtland:Fro yo never gets old, all the satisfaction of ice cream, zero guilt. Their Pink Lemonade Sorbet was tangy, sweet and will remind you of the perfect summer day.

Winter Park Annual hosts three events each year, next up is The Chowder Festival featuring some of Orlando’s finest restaurants and local businesses competing to take home the prestigious Chowder Cup. Grab your tickets here for the January 24 event in Winter Park.

All images belong to each business respectively, Sushi Pop image taken by Spork.

 

Oct 142014
 

At 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night we walked into Santiago’s Bodega for a bite to eat after a very long day. A friendly hostess reluctantly informed us that every table was reserved for the remainder of the evening. This tapas restaurant was void of a single seat except for two at the bar. We settled for a meal barside because clearly for a place to be full mid-week they must be doing something right.

I rarely have a difficult time deciding what to eat, but this night I wanted to order everything. After landing on the Sangria, Greek Salad, Chicken Skewers and Hummus Trio we happily settled into conversation in anticipation of our food arriving. Originally founded in Key West, this true neighborhood restaurant serves up a variety of flavors and relatively large “small plates.” I’d venture to say most items are “medium” sized plates, large enough for multiple people to actually share and enjoy, but small enough that you’ll want to order multiple plates for your table.

My red wine sangria was tasty, not too sweet or bitter and the perfect start to our meal. The Greek Salad was delivered first and I wasn’t expecting anything exceptional, but this was easily one of the best Greek Salads I’ve ever tasted. The presentation was notable and the portion was larger than expected with fresh iceberg lettuce, kalamata olives, feta, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pepperoncinis in a lemon caper vinaigrette. Sometimes greek dressing leaves behind a funky aftertaste and flavor on your tongue, but this vinaigrette was smooth and dressed the salad well to bring out the full flavor without overpowering the toppings.

The hummus trio was served with traditional hummus, roasted red pepper hummus, black olive tapenade and served with salted pita bread. Hummus trios are popping up on menus everywhere, but what makes this one noteable is the flavor. This plate was simply three hummus varieties done right served with real salted pita bread. I’d venture to say Santiago’s Bodega has Orlando’s best hummus platter with Marlow’s Tavern hummus coming in for a close second.

Lastly, our chicken skewers arrived marinated in olive oil, lemon zest, rosemary and served with a lemon-tarragon sauce. The skewers were a little tough and packed with strong flavors, I’m not sure if I would order again, but if lemon and tarragon are your go-to flavors, you’ll probably enjoy these skewers. Overall, I’d rank our experience five out of five in Yelp stars and we are greatly anticipating our next meal! Here’s what’s on our list to order next time:

  • Beef Carpaccio – shaved tenderloin, capers, parmesan crumble, smoked sea salt, truffle oil, and cilantro.
  • Green Beans – French style, with gruyere cheese and prosciutto tossed in lemon caper vinaigrette.
  • Shrimp – Half-dozen peel & eat Key West pinks.
  • Bacon and Basil Wrapped Mushrooms – With basil aioli.
  • Beef Tenderloin – Seared and topped with bleu cheese butter.
  • Maine Lobster – Butter poached, pear & orange segments.
  • Beef Short Ribs – cherry-hoisin glazed, orange-miso slaw.

Santiago’s Bodega is located at 802 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803 and www.santiagosbodega.com.

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Photo Credits: Santiago’s Bodega Yelp

Santiago's Bodega on Urbanspoon