Aug 092017

Husband and wife chefs James and Julie Petrakis, who have won wide acclaim for their Central Florida restaurants Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig, have expanded their Swine Family Restaurant Group to Disney Springs with a new fast-casual concept, The Polite Pig. Partnering with the James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs is Brian Petrakis, who owns the popular Orlando eatery Greens & Grille. The partnership unites the Petrakis brothers on a restaurant venture for the first time.

Operating with a culinary philosophy similar to its sister Swine Family restaurants, The Polite Pig serves dishes made using sustainable and local ingredients. Some of the signature dishes include House-Smoked Chicken, Brisket, Pork Shoulder and St. Louis Ribs, as well as BBQ Cauliflower on the sides menu. Here’s what we’d recommend trying during your visit!

  • Brisket Sandwich with pimento cheese, lil john’s BBQ, pickled jalapeños and crispy onions. YUM! I could try to explain more, but I’ll let the ingredient lineup speak for itself in this case. We reluctantly ordered the BBQ cauliflower for our side (at the enthusiastic urging of our awesome server) but were thrilled with the accompaniment! Who knew this white, typically bland, veggie could hold so much flavor and fun?

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  • Baby Back Ribs with a signature rub and a side of savory cheese grits with collard greens and bacon black-eyed pea potlicker. We promptly polished off the whole rack and almost inhaled the grits. I’m usually a traditionalist when it comes to my grits, as in don’t add anything but cheese and maybe a dash of hot sauce, but the additions to this side dish totally worked. Even our Mississippi-native server is a fan of these grits, and you know how serious southerners are about their grits! Bottom line, order both of these items during your visit to The Polite Pig.

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  • Desserts are kept simple with two choices, Orange Blossom Honey Cake or Double Layer Chocolate Cake. You’re at Disney so dessert is not optional, just order both and share among your table for a sweet ending.

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  • I don’t do bourbon (or beer), but am always ready for wine. They have three wines on tap which means they are consistently served at the perfect temperature. Since it’s ONE BILLION DEGREES outside order a glass of the French rosé. Plus, ordering wine from a keg is trendy and cool.


Longtime Swine Family chef Allison Weldon leads The Polite Pig kitchen and serves as the restaurant’s executive chef. Most recently, Weldon was part of the Cask & Larder transition team to the Orlando International Airport. She began her career as a line cook at The Ravenous Pig and in 2013 was named a regional winner in the national “2013 Best Young Chef” competition sponsored by the Confrérié de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

The Polite Pig will also features beers and cocktails on tap. Cask & Larder Brewery will brew several of their signature beers for The Polite Pig including its Lone Palm Golden Ale, 5 Points IPA, Red Drum Ale and Working Man Porter. On tap cocktails include Gin & Tonic, Vodka Lemonade, Rum & Coke, Tequila & Grapefruit and an Old-Fashioned. Bourbon enthusiasts will also enjoy the “Bourbon Bar” with more than 60 varieties of whiskey including Florida’s largest collection of Pappy Van Winkle whiskeys.

The Polite Pig is located in Disney Springs’ Town Center neighborhood. The 5,000-square-foot venue is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with seating for about 200 guests.

The Polite Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jul 222017

We are magical dining obsessed, it’s the best way to try over 100 local restaurants for just $35 per person! Our favorite and one that’s worth visiting multiple times is Ravello at Four Seasons Resort. Their prix-fixe three-course meal (and all Magical Dining meals) benefit Freedom Ride and BASE Children’s Cancer Foundation. One of the tastiest and best options, the Ravello menu includes:

Appetizer (select one)

  • Insalata Mista with trevisana, arugula, lola rossa, moscato vinaigrette
  • Polpettine meatballs with mortadella, prosciutto, pomodoro sauce and mascarpone, grilled pan pugliese
  • Gelato di Parmigiano with radish, artisan lettuce, cucumber, tomato vinaigrette, Parmigiano cheese gelato and taralli crumble
  • House made charcuterie and cheese board

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Entree (select one)

  • House made bucatini amatriciana with guanciale, onion, pomodoro sauce
  • Chicken puttanesca with polenta, taggiasca olive, capers and pesce spada
  • Swordfish with sale speziato, salmoriglio, roasted potatoes, spinach, pomodorini, taggiasca olives

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Dessert (select one)

  • Affogato vanilla housemade gelato with Café Umbrian espresso
  • Sicillian cannolis with pistachio and candied orange

Magical Dining runs August 25, 2017 and runs through October 1, 2017. For reservations and the full list of restaurants, click here. 

Don’t want to wait a whole month to enjoy a special Four Seasons experience? Capa will feature an incredible Louis Roederer Champagne Dinner on August 3, at 6 p.m. August 3 also marks the resort’s third anniversary, truly an occasion worth celebrating! The five-course dinner will feature rare pairings, including Cristal and Cristal Rose. Proof that bubbles pair with more than just caviar, here’s the stellar lineup for the evening! 

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Between all that Magical Dining and champagne sipping, you’ll want to “take the elevator home” after the night out. With adult amenities such as The Oasis adult-only pool, the 18-hole Tranquilo Golf Club (with an awesome brunch at Plancha) and a 18-treatment room Spa, Four Seasons Resort Orlando is an ideal adult destination. So tell us, what’s your favorite way to experience Four Seasons?

Jul 092017

What’s more luxurious (and fun) than a champagne dinner at the Four Seasons? Yea, we can’t think of anything either! Last week we were fortunate enough to attend a special Louis Roederer champagne dinner at Capa celebrating the resort’s third birthday. The five-course dinner featured rare pairings, including Cristal and Cristal Rosé.

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A good night always starts AND ends with champagne…..the evening’s stellar lineup below.

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Amuse Bouche

  • Zanahoria PB&J, Foie Terrine Tetilla, Cheese Puff Fingerlings, Smoked Crema, Caviar – so many fun bites to start off the meal, especially all the caviar!
  • Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Premier NV – super tasty and available for about $50 bucks from a wine shop, well worth the money.

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  • Lobster with turnips, ponzu vinaigrette and lardo – lobster and champagne, the ultimate and perfect pairing.
  • Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Premier NV

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  • Oxtail Consommé, A5 wagyu and artichoke – always a treat to taste some of the finest wagyu on earth.
  • Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Nature 2009 (zero dosage) – bone dry, but still delicate, so obsessed with this sparkler!

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  • Salmon, burnt leek and champagne sabayon – because when you’re drinking champagne, why not also make it a main ingredient in a dish too.
  • Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Rosé 2011 – takes the whole “Rosé All Day” thing to another level, I must find a bigger champagne budget so I can order more bottles for myself.

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  • Braised Veal with potato and truffle – fork tender and exploding with goodness, this main dish was fabulous.
  • Cristal, Brut 2009 – see comment above about needing a bigger champagne budget. I’m still dreaming about this elegant champagne in my sleep. Maybe someday I’ll have the chance to enjoy it again.


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  • Turron Helado, apricot, currant and pistachio – every single morsel of dessert that their pastry chef has ever created is divine. This dessert was no exception, the right ending to an evening of bubbly and gourmet fare.
  • Cristal, Brut Rosé 2007 – Vintage. Bubbly. Rosé. No better way to end an evening.

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And then we called Uber. The end!

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Capa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jun 252017

ICYMI: Hawkers is opening a second Central Florida location in Windermere. Located within Tavistock’s newest development currently under construction at The Grove, Hawkers will occupy 4,500 square feet of ground floor space within the 31,500-square-foot, mixed-use building. Since the brand’s inception in 2011 with the Orlando – Mills 50 location, Hawkers has opened three additional Florida locations in Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, and St. Petersburg. This new location marks the brand’s fifth restaurant opening. A sixth location is planned for March 2018 in Atlanta’s, marking the brand’s expansion outside the state of Florida.

The approachable menu changes with the seasons and features house favorites such as Roti Canai and Pad Thai (my favorite menu item). Signatures rank among the favorites with items including Lettuce Wraps and the Po Po Lo’s Curry (a passed-down vegetable and protein curry dish), which uses a recipe given by Founder Allen Lo’s family. Hawkers is also on UberEats so it’s easy to enjoy that Pad Thai in your pajamas – not that we’d know anything about that of course….


If you’re up for a cooking we’ve got a super easy recipe that’s perfect for summer. Refreshing and seasonal, you’ll want to enjoy this dish every week! Pair with Snowbirds Rosé from local Chef Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers and Winemaker Norm Saley.


Hawkers Asian Street Fare Green Papaya Salad Mix
  • 2.5 Oz.of Finely Shredded Green Papaya
  • 1/2 Oz. of Finely Shredded Carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. Crushed Roasted Peanuts
  • 2 Oz. Poached Shrimp (cut down to bite size pieces)
  • 2 tsp. Chiffonade Basil
  • 2 Fluid Oz. Dressing
  • Place finely shredded green papaya, carrots and dressing together in a mixing bowl and blend together
  • Add the basil, cilantro, and shrimp to toss together with the salad mix
  • Plate and garnish with crushed peanuts
  • 4 fluid ounces Water
  • 8 fluid ounces Lemon-Lime Soda
  • 3 fluid ounces Fish Sauce (recommended Squid Brand)
  • 6 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Paste (Sambal Olek)
  • On the stovetop, slightly simmer the water. Add sugar and mix well until dissolved
  • Turn off the heat and transfer the liquid to a cold mixing bowl
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well
  • Cover and let sit in the refrigerator
  • Enjoy!
May 292017

Occasionally we discover hidden gems, restaurants we know are bound to find great success, but are still a bit under the radar. Eleven, a modern steakhouse, perched atop the 11-story Reunion Resort in Kissimmee has garnered praise from the likes of Orlando Magazine and Trip Advisor and is a destination that’s worth the trip down I-4.

Under the guise of Eleven’s newly appointed chef, Jacob “Jake” Brenchley, this sky-high restaurant has debuted a re-imagined yet approachable menu. It’s quite refreshing to meet a passionate and talented chef that pours his skills and soul into each dish. Fluent in French, Chef Jake received a culinary arts degree while studying at École des Beaux Arts in Annecy, France and continued his education at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando. No stranger to public accolades, Jake has been featured on the table at the James Beard House and in the pages of Food and Wine, Sommelier Journal and USA Today.

His re-crafted menu showcases a bevy of interesting fare with 11 highlighted ingredients and a signature 11 spice blend – which we took home and have since enjoyed on everything from chicken to popcorn. Eleven’s new menu will keep your taste buds engaged from the seasonal butter to start to the whipped brie cheese for dessert. Between the unobstructed views of South Orlando and the memorable cuisine, here’s why you should trek out to Eleven this summer.

  • Three Words….Meyer Lemon Butter. While the butter to accompany the bread service will change based on what’s in the kitchen and in season, this carb accompaniment became a standout of our experience. Have you ever heard of a chef that changes the BUTTER based on the season? This level of detail is why this spot shines.

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  • Served warm in a mini Staub tray, your meal will start with a new take on the traditional Parker House rolls. While you’ll be tempted to ask for a second helping, make sure you save room for your actual meal.
  • Have you ever started a meal with sorbet? Chef Jake isn’t afraid to pull out sous-vide lobster and shrimp alongside a mango and turmeric sorbet. A vibrant dish that engaged all the culinary senses.

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  • Eleven is a short drive from the theme parks, so when you’ve had your fill of Fantasy Land, Reunion Resort awaits. Bonus points to the restaurant for firework views at night!
  • From family reunions (pun intended) to date nights and drinks after a day on the golf course, this spot is suited to meet a wide range of dining occasions.

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  • We found a filet on the menu that was served over a bed of five cheese mac and cheese and then topped with a pomegranate glaze. Why have steak and potatoes when there’s meat and mac? A fun twist on a classic.

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  • Rarely can a kitchen turn out equally exceptional steaks and seafood. Their grouper with Anson Mills grits and asparagus, not only looks pretty but delivered on all the flavor you’d expect.

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  • After the sorbet, seasonal butter and decadent entrees you’ll be tempted to skip dessert. Don’t. Ask for the sweet and savory bread pudding with whipped Brie and bourbon glaze.

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Just 15 minutes from the Magic Kingdom, Reunion Resort is located at 7593 Gathering Dr., Kissimmee, FL 34747. For more information or to make a reservation at Eleven Restaurant, visit or call (407) 662-1000. Tell Chef Jake we sent ya!

Eleven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oct 232016

Thrilled to introduce our newest contributor…..Brad! Yes, my husband (LOL). As a lifetime fan of Food Network and all things culinary, he knows a thing or two about the wonderful world of food. Happy reading!

Tin Roof, I-Drive 360’s laid back live music joint, recently added some Southern flavor to their menu. If you’re in the mood for an entertaining evening accompanied by some tunes, we’d always recommend Tin Roof. Here’s some of our favorite menu additions:


  • Dixie Biscuits: Three fried biscuit sliders, house smoked brisket, bacon, peach jam and cheddar cheese. An absolute harmony of savory and sweet flavors.
  • Chicken & Waffle Nuggets: Buttermilk fried chicken nuggets and waffle pieces covered in a bacon-maple glaze. Watch out for an ancho chile chocolate surprise!
  • Poppers: Bacon wrapped peppadew and pimento cheese croquettes. If I was stranded on an island and could choose two food items to bring, it would be cold beer and an endless supply of these golden babies……
  • The Southern Burger: The caviar of the south (AKA pimento cheese), bacon and chow-chow (a tangy pickled relish) tops a short rib, brisket and chuck patty cooked on the flat top, all wedged between a Hawaiian bun. Both hands required.
  • Nashville Hot Chicken: Tender pieces of buttermilk fried chicken rubbed with cayenne pepper. If you like spicy, make sure this dish ends up on your plate.
  • Street Corn: Charred on the grill to smoky, sweet perfection.

So make your way to Tin Roof for an evening of music and a taste of the South!






Photo Credit: Tin Roof






Aug 232016


I’m a little behind, but July 1 was International Reggae Day! To celebrate, Bahama Breeze hosted a Reggae Fest from July 1 through August 13.

You see, my love for the Caribbean is deeply rooted. My dad’s family is from the Bahamas, so I know a thing or two about fresh fish, peas and rice and the beauty of a ripe plantain. 

For this experience, I decided to invite some of the people I love most — including my dad, who happens to have a picky palate.
The evening began properly with a warm welcome from the staff and fun at the table as sang along with Lauryn Hill to the track “Turn The Lights Down Low” by Bob Marley.
For starters, we ordered the Conch Fritters, Fried Shrimp, Curry Goat served with naan and the Taste of Jamaica, which caught my eye because it included callaloo — a green, leafy vegetable. Imagine collard greens, but different. From this dish, plated to resemble the Jamaican flag, I sampled the callaloo, rice and plantains. I honestly enjoyed everything I tasted, and my guests raved about the Jerk Chicken and other proteins.

Moving on, we ordered our entrées. The table boasted two orders of Jerk Chicken Pasta, my Shrimp & Mahi with Lemongrass Sauce Bowl, and a Steak Oscar. 

Health Note: At Bahama Breeze, you’re empowered to order your preferred portion size. With many of the entrées, they offer you the choice of a full or half option. Although this idea of portion control is not a new concept, it was refreshing to be asked, because it’s not common.


About 30 minutes passed, and we entered into the final stretch. Bellies were full, pants were a bit tighter and we all still committed to dessert. We devoured two orders of the Banana Nut Bread Supreme, which includes sliced bananas, vanilla ice cream on warm banana nut bread with hot butterscotch brandy sauce and the Chocolate Island that has a rich chocolate mousse on a fudge brownie island in chocolate sauce and vanilla bean anglaise.
The night didn’t end there. Following our desserts, we headed to the outdoor deck where we walked right into the middle of Orlando Reggae Party’s mic check.  The music started at the same time as the Olympic track races, so we stayed around to enjoy the atmosphere. After giving my dancing shoes some play, we left with amazing memories.
Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!