Apr 212015

It’s 6 p.m., you’re hungry, tired and burned out from a day in your cubicle. Your family inevitably asks the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” Unless your fridge is brimming with produce and meats you probably have one of two options, take-out or frozen pizza. Luckily though, there’s a new alternative in town to freezer food.

Farm-Haus, an Orlando based dinner delivery company that uses local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients has launched in select Orlando neighborhoods. Developed by husband and wife team, Patrick and Brittany Lyne, together they focus on the need for nutritious, delicious and convenient weeknight meals for busy professionals and working families.

For more on Farm-Haus head to Orlando My Way for our full story.




Photo Credit: Farm-Haus

Apr 192015

Many restaurants claim to be “local,” but only a select few can cite ingredients from an on-site farm. At JW Marriott’s Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen, guests are treated to a true farm to fork experience. Whisper Creek Farm is a 7,000 square foot fruit and vegetable garden housing an abundance of produce from broccoli to citrus and even kumquats. Four beehives and a chicken coop neighbor the farm – adding to The Kitchen’s growing list of truly local ingredients.

“Since our organic garden for Chef Melissa Kelly’s Primo Restaurant first launched the farm-to-fork movement in Orlando, we have continued to seek out hyper-local culinary initiatives that can provide our guests with authentic, sustainable food and beverage experiences,” says Jim Burns, Vice President and Managing Director, Grande Lakes Orlando.


Showcasing a rustic yet polished design, The Kitchen features a variety of seating options and modern decor throughout the space. Open daily at 5 p.m., menu items range from small plates and sandwiches to flatbreads and seared grouper. Each item features truly seasonal ingredients from The Kitchen’s on-site garden as well as fresh eggs from the farm’s chicken coop.

We were lucky enough to get a preview of this fabulous menu – here’s what we tasted and so enjoyed at The Kitchen.

  • Chive Biscuits: Featuring chives from the garden and served with pork butter and apple moonshine jam. Oh yeah – pork butter is a thing – and it’s as delicious as it sounds. These biscuits are a must-order to start your dining experience.


  • Kale Pesto Flatbread: Topped with eggplant, gruyere, balsamic onions, a kale pesto and arugula. With farm-fresh kale and a memorable flavor profile, this dish is not your average flatbread fare.

IMG_4754 (1)

  • Whisper Creek Farm Harvest Salad: A colorful presentation featuring citrus ricotta cheese plus lemons and limes grown on-site. Tossed in a light vinaigrette and filled with vegetables, it’s a feast for your eyes as much as your tastebuds.

image (16)

  • Seared Grouper: Served alongside Anson Mills grits, leeks from the farm and anchored by a ham hock broth. An unexpected savory dish that’s the perfect alternative to your standard “Shrimp and Grits” plate.


  • Smoked Ham Sandwich: Filled with a Whisper Creek Farm fried egg, avocado, and smoked ham on a house-made honey pecan roll. Served with airy chips dusted with their award winning barbecue spice mix. Originally inspired by a popular sandwich from the original 1927 Marriott Hot Shoppe menu, this dish is now poised to make a grand comeback.

image (15)

  • Kumquat Gelato: Creamy, light and made with kumquats straight from (surprise!), the garden. A nice alternative to overly sweet ice cream and a refreshing treat for those warm spring days.


Between Highball and Harvest, Primo and now Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen, Grande Lakes is certainly emerging as a food lover’s oasis.





Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Apr 172015

Spoleto – My Italian Kitchen is now open and serving up its signature fresh pastas, flatbreads and salads. Located at Plaza on University, this is the first U.S. location for Spoleto, which has more than 380 locations in Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica. Two additional Orlando locations are scheduled to open later this year, one at the Florida Mall and another in Winter Park.

“The plan is to grow our brand throughout Orlando before expanding nationally through corporate and franchise stores,” said John Velasquez, President of Spoleto USA.

The Spoleto concept delivers the highest level of Italian Culinary in a fun and interactive way, where guests have the freedom to craft their personally-inspired pasta, flatbreads, and salads with more than 30 different farm-fresh and house-prepared ingredients, herbs, dressings and oils.

“The goal at Spoleto is to give our guests the Culinary Freedom to experiment with amazing Italian Culinary. We want them to be in control of this open kitchen, working with our chefs to craft their perfect meal,” said Velasquez.


In the mood to just eat and not create? Spoleto has several Chef-crafted dishes to choose from, including their special Spaghetti Polpette Grande (Giant Meatball), Penne Palermitana, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Flatbread as well as Fig, Prosciutto, and Burrata Salad. You can also finish off your meal with a guest favorite – the Nutella Flatbread with Strawberries!

“Our UCF location has received great reviews and excitement, and we look forward to bringing this fine casual experience to our new Orlando locations and soon the rest of the USA,” added Velasquez.


Guests can noodle over which pasta to pick – some of which are whole grain, gluten free and seasonal pastas. Then choose from several protein options including bacon, roasted herb chicken, or a house-made giant meatball. Then its veggie time, with a wide variety of fresh produce and flavors including broccoli, truffle-roasted mushrooms, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, eggplant, zucchini, caramelized onions and many more. From there, guests have a choice of cheese (gorgonzola or an Italian cheese blend) before topping it off with a favorite sauce (pesto, marinara, bolognese, alfredo or brodo di pollo) and other savory seasonings. Upgrades include balsamic pearls and truffle oil.


In the mood for a warm, crispy flatbread? Guests can select from the same fresh ingredients to dress it up before it’s placed in the 1500 degree stone fired oven! Top it off with balsamic glaze, fresh herbs, and fresh grated parmesan cheese.



Salad lovers can choose from a mix of locally-grown baby lettuce from McGregors Farms, “Little Gem” lettuce with baby red and green romaine, or baby organic spinach. They can also choose from the same local ingredients, cheeses, and proteins like herb marinated shrimp, prosciutto or roasted herb chicken. Then select from Spoleto’s house-made dressings (balsamic vinaigrette, blood orange vinaigrette, caesar or red wine vinaigrette).

Spork is getting a taste of Spoleto soon – menu details and review to come!


Spoleto on Urbanspoon



Photo Credits: Spoleto

Apr 142015

Grande Lakes Orlando has announced the opening of Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen and The Brewery at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. Orlando’s luxury leader comprised of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes continues to set the bar high for farm-to-fork experiences in Orlando, a rising culinary destination. The Kitchen at JW Marriott Orlando features the inaugural batch of beer from The Brewery at Grande Lakes, an in-house first-of-its-kind nano-brewery producing house-made brews on tap and served throughout the resort.

“Since our organic garden for Chef Melissa Kelly’s Primo Restaurant first launched the farm-to-fork movement in Orlando, we have continued to seek out hyper-local culinary initiatives that can provide our guests with authentic, sustainable food and beverage experiences,” says Jim Burns, Vice President and Managing Director, Grande Lakes Orlando.


Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen

Showcasing a rustic yet polished design, The Kitchen has the vibe of eating in your family’s kitchen, with a variety of communal, high-top, sofa, outdoor, and bar seating with rich woods, steel blues, and leather accents throughout. Menu items at The Kitchen—including snacks, small plates and sandwiches, charcuterie & cheese boards, and flatbreads—will feature seasonal ingredients from the 7,000-square-foot on-site garden at Whisper Creek Farm as well as fresh eggs daily from the farm’s recently added chicken coop. The Kitchen’s sausages and charcuterie, prepared by the JW Marriott butcher, pair perfectly with The Brewery’s hops-laden creations. Signature menu items prepared in the restaurant’s open-air display kitchen include fresh pickled vegetables, hop-salted house pretzels served with “Surplus” Ale cheese fondue, seasonal flatbreads, and a smoked ham sandwich with a Whisper Creek Farm fried egg served on house-made Whisper Creek Farm honey pecan roll (inspired in part by a popular ham sandwich on the original 1927 Marriott Hot Shoppe menu). The Kitchen’s small plates are carefully planned by the JW Marriott culinary team and brought to life by Chef de Partie Jason Shapiro who joined Grande Lakes Orlando in 2009, and since then has been involved in the resort’s farm-to-fork efforts including the creation of Whisper Creek Farm.

In addition to showcasing The Brewery’s seasonal brews, The Kitchen’s six taps will rotate between five seasonal selections from The Brewery, and the always-available Surplus (Honey Citrus Ale), Grande Lakes’ flagship beer. Located just off the main JW Marriott lobby, The Kitchen seats 100 indoors and 50 on the outdoor terrace and is open in the evening from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., with the bar open until midnight. The space can also be utilized as a brand-new, social meeting space bookable for group functions during the day.


Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery

The first Marriott property to launch a nano-brewery, Grande Lakes has brought in a local Cicerone-certified brewmaster to lead The Brewery. The Brewery will produce 28 gallons of beer weekly including five styles of beer created each season—Dark, Wheat/Light, Amber, IPA and a Special Brew (a seasonal made from the freshest farm ingredients). Signature Special Brew varieties will include the Maple Bacon Stout, Soup of the Day IPA, and Ghost Pepper Wheat.  In addition to brewing signature beer for The Kitchen, The Brewery also operates as a highly unique back-of-house Chef’s Table for intimate evenings and group events.

To complement The Brewery launch, Grande Lakes Orlando is collaborating with nearby Florida Beer Company, a Cape Canaveral-based brewery, to create its flagship beer: Surplus, a signature Floridian honey citrus ale to be distributed throughout the resort’s outlets and available year around (naturally infused with Grande Lakes honey sourced from the resort’s on-property apiaries).

The launch of the on-property brewery furthers the resort’s ever-expanding commitment to sustainable cuisine, which started more than ten years ago with Primo Garden providing fresh produce and herbs for award-winning Chef Melissa Kelly’s Primo restaurant at JW Marriott Orlando. Since then Grande Lakes has launched several apiaries, baked all its bread in house (by a 30-strong pastry team), welcomed 30 chickens to a Whisper Creek Farm coop, and opened Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando in September 2014 featuring Southern-inspired cuisine with ingredients from Whisper Creek Farm.

Spork is getting a preview this weekend! Full review coming soon!


Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Apr 142015

It’s almost that time—wine dinners are in season, and Soco is set to host its next dinner on April 21 at 7 p.m. Set for an intimate group, the dinner will feature five courses crafted by Executive Chef/Partner Greg Richie that will be paired with a wine selected by Soco’s wine expert.

Guests will be guided through the menu with tasting notes, history and education on the wine making process.

Soco Interior

Soco Thornton Park on Urbanspoon

Apr 092015

TR Fire Grill, a chef-inspired American bistro with innovative dishes from Chef Bob Gallagher, is now open with a second location planned for Winter Park! At TR Fire Grill, you can choose from menu items that use the highest quality, freshest seasonal produce from farms in Central and South Florida. Steaks are fresh, never frozen, aged and then hand cut daily in the restaurant. Smoking and grilling are essential to the experience, and TR Fire Grill smokes all of their meats and vegetables in-house daily using hickory wood. New to their menu is brunch, featuring culinary delights such as:

  • Lemon Ricotta Pancakes: Severed with a side of  jalapeño chicken sausage, seasonal fruit, and drizzled with maple syrup
  •  Morning Meatloaf: Chile sauce, sunny-side-up eggs, and jalapeno hollandaise

unnamed (2)

  • Chicken and Waffles: Drizzled with agave syrup


  • Bloody Mary and Mimosa Samplers

Mimosa Sampler_Vert

Brunch is served every Sunday from 10 am – 2 pm! See you there Orlando.



TR Fire Grill on Urbanspoon

Photo Credits: TR Fire Grill

Apr 082015

Krispy Kreme is introducing three new campfire-inspired treats perfect for camping in the mountains or camping out on the couch. The new OREO® Dirt Cake Doughnuts, S’mores Doughnuts and Honey Bee Doughnuts are available now through May 17!

  • OREO® Dirt Cake Doughnut:  Krispy Kreme has created this eye-catching and delicious yeast doughnut filled with a blend of Kreme™ filling and OREO® cookie crumbles, dipped in milk chocolate and topped with OREO® cookie crumbles and a gummy candy worm.
  • S’mores Doughnut: A new twist on a familiar camping treat, this yeast doughnut is filled with a blend of Kreme™ filling, dipped in milk chocolate, topped with a blend of graham cracker crumbles and chocolate chips, and finished with a white icing drizzle.
  • Honey Bee Doughnut: These delightful honey bees are dipped in milk chocolate and topped with cookie crumbles, a gummy worm and a Honey Bee sugar piece.

And PS:
April 5 through May 19, Krispy Kreme customers can help provide life-changing summer camping experiences for children with chronic or serious illnesses by making a donation to the Krispy Kreme Drive for 45 Campaign. Donations can be made at the register or in the Drive for 45 Tire display at participating Krispy Kreme US locations. Visit KrispyKreme.com for participating locations and program details. One hundred percent of your donations will be given to Victory Junction.

Get your sugary fix soon!

Krispy Kreme Campfire Favorites (1)