Feb 272015
 

What’s better than eating breakfast? Drinking it. Oh yeah. American Q has introduced numerous breakfast cocktails perfect for, well, anytime of day. Cheers and happy weekend!

  • Bailey’s Iced Vanilla Coffee – Bailey’s, Hangar One vodka & frozen coffee cube with vanilla sugar rim
  • Maple Martini – Myers dark rum, Irish cream, maple syrup, milk, & crumbled bacon bits with mini waffle & maple sugar rim. Oh yeah bacon bits.
  • Apple Bacon Bloody Mary - House Bloody Mary blend & Bakon Vodka with smoked apple bacon, lemon wedge and salted rim
  • Cantaloupe Martini – Grey Goose vodka, Cointreau, watermelon liqueur & fresh cantaloupe

10501701_716757435039267_2192725222662690381_n

 

 

Photo Credit: American Q

Feb 262015
 

Sometimes meat is…overrated. I’m all for a big juicy steak or rack of ribs, but occasionally  your taste buds need a refresh. Plus with Lent upon us, you may need some non-meat options this season! We’ve scoured the city for the best dishes sans meat, here’s our top picks:

4 RiversSmokehouse

  • What to Order: Limited-time only Tuna Melt: Homemade tuna salad, lightly smoked albacore tuna, celery, chopped eggs, pickles, tomatoes and onion. All served on a hoagie bun topped with melted provolone cheese. Available only on Fridays during Lent!

The COOP

  • What to Order: Go Southern at this Winter Park concept when you order their Fried Catfish & Grits with a side of hoppin’ john –  we’re obsessed with this side for the record.

unnamed

American Gymkhana

  • What to Order: French Toast Gymkhana stuffed with choice of cinnamon- raisin mawa.

American Q

  • What to Order: Meatless Mondays at American Q: take advantage of the all-you-can eat flatbed buffet without meat every Monday for $19.95 including grilled cauliflower steak, seared rare tuna and more!

23e202fc36dd7f8ee378956af00dac77_full_size-1024x682

Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster

  • What to Order:  Christner’s Sesame Seared Tuna (our favorite) or fresh Salmon. Their menu also boasts made-for-sharing sides such as Osage Spinach and Skillet Potatoes & Onions. And be sure to end your meal with the Mandarin Orange Cake, a yellow cake base filled with mandarin oranges, pineapples and a whipped cream icing.

unnamed

Taverna Opa Orlando

  • What to Order: With more than a dozen meatless options, Opa Orlando boasts:
    • Hummus with chickpeas, olive oil, garlic sea salt and pepper
    • Stuffed Peppers – Green and red peppers stuffed with rice and infused with fresh herbs.

unnamed-1

Soco

  • What to order: Soco brings a contemporary flair to Southern cuisine with their Chicken Fried Cauliflower “Steak” paired with garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus and vine ripe tomato gravy.

Duffy’s Sports Grill

  • What to Order: Chinese Chopped Salad with Sesame Tuna, Ahi Tuna Burger or the Black Bean Veggie Burger. Yep, all this and more from a sports bar!

Here’s to giving your palate something new this week!

 

Photos are from each restaurant respectively. 

Feb 242015
 

A magical skyline, decadent desserts and an award-winning wine selection can all be found atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Ever since the restaurant was “re-imagined,” I’ve been dying to snag a taste of my own. After patiently waiting since September we finally landed a table over Valentine’s weekend, yep that’s right, I made a reservation in September for a table in February. Nuts. Needless to say my expectations were sky-high as we sat down for our meal.

I instantly fell in love with the gorgeous expansive views; regardless of your level of “Disney love” it’s undeniable that California Grill has one of the best restaurant views in Orlando, especially at sunset. After oohing and aaahing over the view, we were seated and promptly served with fluffy lavender bread and whole wheat sourdough rolls. I’m always impressed with a restaurant has a Sancerre by the glass, it’s hands down one of my favorite blends, so bonus points for California Grill.

l

We picked the Spicy Kazan Roll to start filled with crab, shrimp, scallops, tuna and fireball sauce. It was incredibly fresh and devoured in a matter of minutes. At $24 a roll though, my expectations were set a little high, the roll was undoubtedly tasty, but probably not worth 25 washingtons. Alas, our meal carried on.

IMG_3830

For mains we split the Pork Two Ways and the Bell and Evans Chicken. A signature dish with grilled tenderloin, goat cheese polenta, mushrooms, lacquered belly and a crispy apple topped with a demi glaze sauce. The grilled tenderloin was juicy and enjoyable, but I could have done without the lacquered belly. The chicken came with both dark and white meats, while it was flavorful, the dish could have been outstanding with a reduction sauce and a little less salt. The truffle whipped potatoes though? Divine!

IMG_3836

IMG_3835

We rounded out the night with their famous Chocolate Pudding Cake, a luscious chocolate cake with nutella filling, meringue kisses, mint cream and flakes of sea salt. And yes, it was every bit of amazing as it sounds. The decedent, dense chocolate mixed with flavors of mint and a hint of saltiness was a superb combination. Easily the best thing we ordered all night. I’d go back just for this confection and a glass of their Sancerre, both were that good.

IMG_3834

The atmosphere was lively and the plates were served promptly, but just remember the “Disney factor” which always equates in inflated prices. Overall, our evening was enjoyable and the service was prompt and attentive. I wasn’t overly impressed with our mains, but would recommend California Grill for a special occasion or celebration with your family.

So, tell us, what are your thoughts about Disney’s California Grill?

California Grill on Urbanspoon

Photo Credits: All photos taken by Spork except the sunset image which is from Yelp

Feb 192015
 

In the midst of Downtown Disney’s biggest transformation to date, the soon to be Disney Springs is bursting with unique dining spots sure to suit any appetite. With the crowds dying down and the tourists headed home, February is the prime month to visit as a local. And since Downtown Disney can get especially crazy, we recommend checking out these eats soon before the mobs of spring breakers arrive!

  • Exposition Park - The permanent home for Disney’s food trucks. Two or more of the Disney food trucks will be at the park most days: Superstar Catering (featuring favorites from Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Namaste Café (Disney’s Animal Kingdom dishes), Fantasy Fare (Magic Kingdom tastes) and World Showcase of Flavors (Epcot Food & Wine Festival). The park is next to Bongos Cuban Cafe and also includes an area for live entertainment, seating for diners and ample shade.

food-truck-world-showcase-flavors-gallery01

  • Fulton’s Crab House - Seafood is flown in from around the globe, but also celebrates Florida’s waters with seasonal catches such as stone crab claws. Choose from the nautical dining room or one of three outdoor decks. Fulton’s is an 11-time winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, with more than 2,000 bottles in their cellar.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 11.07.31 AM

  • Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop – The chocolatey smell wafting from the rooftop is enough to draw anyone inside. This spot offers everything from scoops to floats, sundaes and malts. You must try their World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae, with house-made fudge. At the very least stop by for the free chocolate square samples!

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 11.04.05 AM

  • Portobello – Grab a seat on the waterfront porch for the best views in this trattoria that serves wood-burning-oven pizzas, antipasti and hearty dishes like ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach, gnocchi and penne Bolognese.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 11.01.30 AM

unnamed-4-1024x768

Have a magical (and tasty) day at Downtown Disney!

 

 

 

Photo Credits: Disney World, Splitsville photo owned by Spork

Feb 172015
 

I’ve (sadly) never been New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. It’s on my bucket list, and while I won’t be making it down there in the foreseeable future, I’m so looking forward to tasting Marlow’s Tavern annual Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu.  Now through Tuesday, March 24, Marlow’s will be serving up a savory celebration of Louisiana culinary culture. The Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu will be available daily for lunch and dinner, in addition to the main menu.

The parade of jazzed-up dishes includes:

  • Roasted Chicken & Shrimp Gumbo – A down-home Louisiana tradition with a Marlow’s twist
  • Le Cajun Boudin – Slow-roasted pork, seasoned Cajun-style, with rice and a Creole rémoulade
  • Daily Flatbread From the Bayou – Made with secret sauce and the best ingredients Marlow’s kitchen (and the bayou) have to offer
  • “N’awlins-Style” Po’Boy – Tempura-battered shrimp and crawfish, apple-cabbage slaw, shredded lettuce, Roma tomato and smoked chili cream on a toasted baguette

Marlow's Tavern N’awlins-Style Po'Boy

  • Creole Patty Melt – Fresh ground beef all “jazzed up” with andouille sausage, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and peppers and a house-made Creole rémoulade on toasted marble rye
  • Deconstructed Jambalaya – Grilled Prestige Farms chicken, andouille sausage, house-made dirty rice and traditional crawfish Creole sauce

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 9.10.49 PM

  • NOLA Red Gish Grill – Blackened red fish, corn and okra maque choux, grainy mustard, scallion and crawfish tomato beurre blanc

AND if you love a deal (like me) head to Marlow’s Facebook page to snag your complimentary gumbo!

Marlow's Tavern Honey Bourbon Bread Pudding

Marlow's Tavern on Urbanspoon

 

 

Photo Credits: Marlow’s Tavern

Feb 172015
 

Nearly a decade ago I traveled to Italy with my family for what ensued to be a two week culinary tour around the country. From gelato shops tucked away on cobblestone streets to endless carbs and an epic four hour dinner with locals, I quickly became smitten with anything Italian. Fast-forward ten years and I finally experienced a taste of Italy among the chefs and swanky restaurants in Winter Park.

Sure, any restaurant that serves pizza and pasta can claim Italian roots, but when you’re actually from Rome and recently moved to the states, you get all the Italian bragging rights.

The owners at Rome’s Flavours hail from Italy and are serving up the most authentic flavors and atmosphere in town. If you’ve ever traveled to Italy, you know that some of the best restaurants aren’t fancy and flashy. This location is reminiscent of a quaint cafe that you’d stop in for a quick bite and end up staying for hours sipping wine, espresso and getting caught up in conversation. Well, that’s exactly what happened during our recent visit.

We tasted authentic pizza, wine, gelato and more over a lingering lunch. Their pizza is made from scratch including the sauce complete with real crushed tomatoes. We ordered the “#2” per the owner’s recommendation, our slices were cheesy, warm and sauced to perfection. After slowly enjoying our pizza and salad, we couldn’t refuse the gelato. Similar to the pizza, the gelato is made from scratch and delicious. Go for the pistachio for something creamy, but not overly sweet. And be sure to end your meal with an espresso for the ultimate Italian experience.

Ciao! I’m off to plan (well okay, dream) about my next trip to Italy.

IMG_3793

IMG_3794

IMG_3795

Rome's Flavours on Urbanspoon

Feb 102015
 

After moving to Winter Park and frequently flying thousands of miles home just for the food, Lambrine Macejewski decided to bring a taste of Texas to Winter Park. Now in it’s fifth year, Cocina 214 serves up Mexican and Tex-Mex flavors nightly. Cocina 214 was formed when Macejewski and her family desperately missed their beloved Tex-Mex food after relocating to the Sunshine State. Today, Cocina 214’s flavorful menu combines bold flavors with quality local ingredients creating exceptional dishes served in a vibrant, elegant setting.

For menu picks and our interview with Co-Founder, Lambrine Macejewski, head to Orlando My Way!

Screen-Shot-2015-02-08-at-1-58-35-PM-png

Cocina 214 Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon