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


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!

beekman boys

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.

sushi pop

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


l (1)


Photo Credits: Santiago’s Bodega Yelp

Santiago's Bodega on Urbanspoon

Oct 132014

Chipotle introduced its new vegan Sofritas option today in all Florida restaurants. This organic shredded tofu is braised with chipotle chiles, roasted poblano peppers and a blend of aromatic spices. Click here if you missed our original post on Chipotle’s newest menu addition.

I’m not an avid tofu taster, but I was pleasantly surprised by the mild texture and array of flavors from the Sofritas. Occasionally, I’ll order a veggie bowl with black beans, fajitas and all the toppings you can imagine, but I always feel slightly jipped and unsatisfied at the end of my meal. The Sofritas are a nice addition for vegetarians and a tasty alternative for carnivores looking for a new flavor and Chipotle experience. Click here to find a Chipotle near you!

PS: Come dressed in costume to Chipotle on Halloween and score a Boorito for a mere $3!






Burrito and Boorito photo credit: Chipotle. All other images taken by Spork.


Chipotle Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Oct 102014

Before meeting my husband sushi was foreign to me. I avoided all forms of sushi because, well frankly, the thought of raw fish grossed me out. Mentally I just couldn’t do it. Fast forward six years and I’ll happily eat {almost} any sushi roll we order! It’s definitely an acquired taste, like coffee or a strong cheese, but once you experience good sushi, you’ll understand its popularity. We’re always looking for the next best sushi place in town and new to the sushi scene is RA Sushi on I-Drive. With 26 locations nationwide, you know they must be doing something good. In addition to their full menu, RA Sushi is embracing fall with four new menu options now through January 31.

  • Lobster Ceviche ($12.75) – Served on a bed of guacamole, fresh sliced avocado and topped with chili garlic salt.
  • Spicy Asian Chicken Wings – ($9.50) Tossed in a spicy, flavorful Asian sauce. The perfect alternative when you’re burned out on buffalo wing flavor, but still craving chicken wings.
  • Lobster Nigiri ($9.25) – Topped with a dill and lobster cream sauce.

RA Sushi is located at Pointe Orlando and www.RAsushi.com.

Lobster Ceviche

New Lobster Ceviche

Lobster Nigiri

New Lobster Nigiri

Spiced Mule

New Spiced Mule

Photo Credit: RA Sushi

RA Sushi Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Oct 092014

Orlando’s newest BBQ joint, American Q, is full of smoky goodness, cowboys and a variety of barbeque styles. Unique to American Q is their all-you-can-eat flatbed buffet served from the back of a cherry red ’51 Ford F1 pickup truck with homemade soups, chili, a baked potato bar, peel & eat shrimp, hot and cold seasonal vegetables, pastas and potato salads and a 20+ item salad bar. Even better, the bevy of BBQ meats and poultry are carved tableside by their speciality Cowboy Carvers.

With a la carte options and a kids menu, they’re unrivaled barbeque variety includes styles from across the world ranging from the Carolinas, Kansas City, Memphis and Texas favorites to traditional Argentinean and Mexican classics.

This month American Q is celebrating Oktoberfest with their Brews & BBQ pairing menu. For the month of October, the restaurant is offering a $30 four-course small plate menu with beer pairings. If you’ve never tasted St. Louis style BBQ, now’s your chance! It’s usually saucier than its counterparts, but equally as tasty. See below for full pairings menu!

American Q is located inside B Resort & Spa, 1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, FL and www.americanq.com.










Photo Credits: American Q

American Q on Urbanspoon