Jan 202017
 

We live in a pizza obsessed country, from Superbowl Sunday to Thanksgiving Eve, it’s as much a staple in American culture as the hamburger. And like most adapted dishes, we’ve found a way to reduce the art of pizza making down to a frozen science. So it’s always refreshing to find an authentic and tasty pie in town, which is exactly what we found at MidiCi. This LA founded Neapolitan pizza company has made its way to the Sunshine State. Their traditional Neapolitan cuisine features a true taste of Naples with its pizza ovens direct from Italy, as is the flour. Reminiscent of a pie you’d find on the other side of the world, this new pizza place is serving up goodness with starters like paper-thin prosciutto and endings like Nutella calzones.

MidiCi serves traditional Neapolitan cuisine with natural, fresh, non-GMO ingredients. You can select from traditional and signature menu options or create personalized pizzas in an open-kitchen fashion. Honoring the tradition, passion and art of Neapolitan pizza, making the way it was invented more than 300 years ago, MidiCi uses traditional wood-fired ovens, custom hand built in Naples with an internal temperature of 850 degrees to bake pizzas to perfection.

Completely, worth the drive from Downtown Orlando, here’s what we’d recommend ordering when you venture out to Kissimmee!

  • Housemade Meatballs: Seasoned, grass-fed and hand-rolled in-house with fresh smoked mozzarella, crushed Italian peeled tomatoes imported from Italy and parmigiano-reggiano. Served with wood fire-toasted ciabatta bread, these are classic meatballs done right.

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  • Burrata: Cheese lover’s rejoice (!) because this soft cheese paired with fresh melon and real prosciutto is divine. This paper thin prosciutto is even imported from Italy and aged 24 months.
  • The Margherita Pizza: A classic executed correctly, how refreshing! Using crushed Italian peeled tomatoes for it’s sauce, this pizza is filled with the appropriate amount of fresh whole mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano and a base that was cooked perfectly. Their signature dough is soft, airy and made from only four ingredients – flour, water, sea salt and yeast.

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  • Double Pepperoni Pizza: Made with crushed Italian peeled tomatoes for the sauce, fresh whole mozzarella, pepperoni, spicy Italian salami, parmigiano-reggiano, organic non-gmo extra virgin olive oil and fresh organic sweet basil. Pair with one of their wines by the glass, and pretend you’re basking in the Italian sun.

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Just make sure you save room for the Drowning Gelato. This authentic affogato with vanilla gelato (by Italian Master Gelatiers Leo Leo Gelato) is drowning in espresso.

Ciao!

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Jan 192017
 

Tickets are on sale for the 4th annual Field to Feast Dinner March 25 at Long & Scott Farms in Zellwood, Fla., with Disney’s top chefs headlining. Presented by Edible Orlando magazine featuring Walt Disney World Resort chefs, all proceeds benefit the Kids Cafe Program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, an after-school meal service program that provides food to local children in need.

Celebrating locally sourced cuisine in an open-air setting with a casual dine around, this year’s dishes will be paired with wines, beers and cocktails selected by Master Sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George.  Live music, farm tours, a raffle and more are part of the event from 5-8 p.m.

Tickets are $175 at edibleorlando.com. Buy your tickets soon, the event sold out the last three years! See you on the farm.

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Jan 182017
 

It’s impossible to ignore the bustling restaurant scene that continues to emerge in Winter Park. Previously inhabited solely by Hillstone (or Houston’s if you’re a long time guest), Orlando Avenue is now home to a large collection of restaurants. From sushi to salsa, here’s where to dine in Winter Park beyond Park Avenue.

Bulla: New to the dining scene is Bulla (“boo-ya”) Gastrobar, which opened at Lakeside Crossing. Bulla, which is Spanish slang for “chatter”, boasts an energetic, vibrant atmosphere with traditional tapas and creative libations.

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Hillstone: I’ve always enjoyed Hillstone for its food, but also for the notable atmosphere. Step outside and you will find a seating area unmatched by any other local restaurant. The outdoor seating is on the edge of Lake Killarney and is filled with an herb garden and Adirondack chairs perfect for wine and conversation. The sunsets here are unbelievable and you can even reserve the dining dock that overlooks the lake. Their menu is filled with simple, fresh flavors and a variety of entrées to satisfy even the pickiest diners.

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Photo Credit: Hillstone

Chuy’s: Perhaps most surprising is the kitchen, with virtually no freezer space and everything from tortillas to drinks made-from-scratch, you can taste the difference with every bite. Flour and corn tortillas are hand-rolled and cooked every day on an authentic comal, a flat griddle traditionally used in Mexico and Central America to make tortillas. Chuy’s also features a myriad of signature sauces, you can even ask your server for a sampling of all 10 sauces and they’ll walk you through each one. And the drinks? No mixes here, the bartenders come in early each morning to squeeze the lime juice used for the day. So don’t expect frozen, re-heated food, because everything from the beverages to tortillas are crafted with care.

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Luke’s: The third concept from the Luma and Prato crew, Luke’s Kitchen and Bar offers classic American cuisine and cocktails. Inspired by timeless American libations, the bar program will feature signature classic cocktails using house-made ingredients that complement the menu. Luke’s will offer a wide-ranging, hand selected array of fine wines and craft beer as well. We’ve yet to visit, but look out for a full report soon!

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Photo Credit: Luke’s

Kona Grill: Located in the Lakeside Crossing shopping center, Kona Grill features a global menu of contemporary American favorites, award-winning sushi, and specialty cocktails in an upscale casual atmosphere. Their extensive sushi menu includes favorites like the Picasso Roll and Peppered Tuna Tataki Roll. If you’re not a sushi connoisseur, there’s plenty of other options such as Macadamia Nut Chicken or Pad Thai.

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While we love the charm and personality of Park Avenue, there’s plenty of places worth exploring off the well-beaten path.

 

Jan 172017
 

Sonny’s second annual Smokin’ Showdown Invitational returned last week! The competition brought together the nation’s top pitmasters in one arena for an epic BBQ battle. While attendees watched more than 50 professional BBQ competition teams, there was plenty of feasting between plates of Sonny’s for sale and a rib and doughnut eating contest alongside live music.

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The BBQ teams were judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat. The grand champion team received $20,000 along with a myriad of other cash prizes for subsequent winners. Attracting exceptional talent from around the country, here’s who took home the bacon during last week’s #SmokinShowdown.

  • Mystery Meat: Pit Crew
    • Tina is a trained chef turned BBQ competitor. This pitmaster, alongside her husband, travel the competition circuit together while making friends and having fun along the way.
  • Beef: Wolf Revenge BBQ
    • With a host of accolades, this Virginia based team is turning out everything from tender beef brisket to Brunswick stew with a recipe that dates back to 1828.
  • Ribs: Real South BBQ
    • This George based business founded in 2013 has one simple mission, “to cook the very best BBQ!” And based on their latest accolade, it looks like the judges at Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown would agree.
  • Grand Champion: Cajun Blaze
    • This competitive “cooking obsessed” duo took home the coveted prize along with a nice chunk of cash. With several grand championship titles to their name, these two friends are ones to watch for on the circuit.

For more information and upcoming details on future showdowns visit sonnysshowdown.com and sonnysbbq.com. Until next year!

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Jan 172017
 

After a grueling day of emails, fire drills and endless presentations, a beverage is generally in order. With lower priced libations and creative fare, we’ve found the perfect spots to unwind after the demands of your day. When work comes to a close, grab your friends head to a “happier hour.”

The Ravenous Pig: Sample a wine from Slovenia, Spain or wash the day away with a Gold Rush filled with Buffalo Trace bourbon. Their taproom menu ranges from oysters to Southern staples like shrimp and grits or Nashville hot chicken. Between the hip vibe and range of fare, this Winter Park mainstay is always a solid choice. Check out their new digs on Fairbanks where Cask & Larder previously resided.

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Photo Credit: The Ravenous Pig

Luma on Park: Skip discounted cocktails and bar bites because Sunday – Tuesday this trendy Park Avenue spot serves a prix fixe menu for just $35. You’ll be presented with a range of options for each of the three courses – a total steal for a pricier place. Their wine list features mostly small boutique wineries with ample room for sampling as you can order half glasses from their extensive by-the-glass list.

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The Guesthouse: This hipster Mills 50 spot is a nice respite from the craziness that Downtown Orlando often brings to nightlife. Boasting an extended period for happy hour, stop by this urban oasis daily from 5-8 p.m. for cocktails, wine and beer.

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Photo Credit: The Guesthouse

RusTeak: Here happy hour comes not once, but twice per day. Drop by this college park restaurant Monday through Saturday from 4-7 p.m. and also from 10-11 p.m. for $5 glasses of wine, beer and select appetizers or $6 bucks for a signature cocktail. A recipient of Wine Spectator’s award of excellence, there’s plenty of vino options at this Edgewater restaurant to pair with your starters.

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Photo Credit: RusTeak

Del Frisco’s: Their newest happy hour, Del’s at Dusk, takes places Monday through Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. Available in their downstairs bar on I-Drive, the happy hour special includes $8 bar menu selections, $8 wine and $9 signature cocktails as well as $5 select draft beer. Menu offerings include Wagyu corn dogs, tenderloin served over chateau potatoes and more!

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Photo Credit: Del Frisco’s

K Restaurant: If you like to save your drinking for the weekend, head to K’s Friday night flights on the last Friday of every month. From 6-8 p.m. gather in their garden for a casual wine tasting with six different wines for just $20. We’d recommend staying for dinner to feast on a filet and friend green tomatoes.

Just remember……it’s always 5 o’clock “somewhere”. Cheers!

Jan 082017
 

Sonny’s second annual Smokin’ Showdown Invitational BBQ competition and festival returns this Saturday! The competition will bring together the nation’s top Pitmasters in one arena for an epic BBQ battle. While attendees watch more than 50 professional BBQ competition teams and taste their award-winning recipes, guests can also participate in rib and doughnut eating contests and enjoy live music. The BBQ teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event. The grand champion team will receive $20,000.

So this Saturday enjoy lots of BBQ, fare from local vendors, family-fun activities and musical performances, all for a mere $5! For more information visit sonnysshowdown.com and sonnysbbq.com. Here’s to an epic day of BBQ at  the Central Florida Zoo, 3755 Hwy 17-92 (Exit 104 off I-4), Sanford, FL 32771.

Dec 312016
 

We’re closing out 2016 with an idea for welcoming your new year in tasty style. Trade black-eyed peas for baguettes and bubbles when you ring in 2017 at Dovecote for brunch tomorrow.

Chef Clay Miller’s menu features a variety of French-inspired dishes, including his signature Croque Madame, Chicken & Sausage Casserole, Pearl Sugar Waffle and, naturally, a classic French Fine Herb Omelet.

To wash down all that fabulous fare, Dovecote offers daytime cocktails, exceptional barista-crafted coffee and rosé all day. They’ve brought this now popular phrase to life with $15 unlimited rosé during Sunday brunch{!!} In addition to their menu classics they’ll be offering a New Year’s Day special featuring one dozen oysters and a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne for $79.

Here’s some of our favorite menu items to welcome the new year:

Caramelized Onion Soup: Brimming with oxtail, fresh horseradish and gruyère cheese, this soup is worth enjoying even if it’s 90 degrees outside. The perfect start to your Dovecote experience anytime of day.

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Brioche French Toast: Holy moly, put down your fork and trade in your current meal for the fluffiest dish in town. Perfectly decadent and slightly sweet, make sure this breakfast item ends up on your table.

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Quiche: A classic French item and one that’s so easy for restaurants to butcher, but at Dovecote someone in the kitchen clearly knows how to make a proper quiche.

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Fromage Frites: I’d consider myself a bit of a french fry connoisseur (embarrassing to admit, I know) and these golden strips of glory are some of my favorites in town.

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Selection of Pastries: On the particular Sunday we visited the menu featured a pumpkin coffee cake which was every bit seasonally relevant as it was plush and delicious.

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Here’s to a fabulous 2017 full of brunch and good cheer!

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