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Feb 032015
 

With its chic exterior and glowing Yelp reviews we recently decided to try Kasa Restaurant & Bar in Downtown Orlando. If you’re looking for trendy and tasty eats, grab your friends, head to Kasa and feast on an array of mini plates.

Here’s what we sampled and enjoyed during our recent visit.

  • Quinoa Greek: A fresh bed of greens atop cucumbers, Kalamata olives, red onions, feta, cranberries, bell peppers, tomato, mixed greens, citrus vinaigrette and red quinoa. Fresh and flavorful, you won’t mind that it’s healthy!

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  • Mango BBQ Glazed Baby Back Ribs: Literally fall-off-the-bone, you could slice this juicy meat with practically your fingers. Tasty, tender and served with Yucca fries, ramen or kimchee slaw.
  • Drunken Kobe Brisket: Dark beer braised brisket, garlic cream sauce, horseradish havarti, pepper relish. A unique taste on brisket, but something I’d order next time. Like the ribs, this meat was tender and uniquely spiced.

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  • Tuna Tostones: Spicy tuna served with tostones, avocado puree and a tropical mango relish. Not my favorite, but my better half was obsessed with this plate.

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  • Kasa Corn: Oh. My. Goodness. I’d go back to Kasa just for corn and wine. Presented as three mini corn skewers and lathered in miso lime aioli, spices, manchego and queso fresco. The cheeses and spices are perfection!

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  • Adobo Pork & Crispy Polenta Cake: Mmmm polenta and pork, need I say more? These mini cakes are artfully served and are perfect for sharing. Served with Avocado puree, chipotle braised pork, pickled red onions, queso fresco and cilantro.

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Kasa also has a killer Happy Hour on Tuesdays, unlimited wine and bites for 20 bucks on Wednesdays and a Sunday brunch buffet complete with bottomless mimosas and Kasa Roja Sangria. Happy tasting!

Kasa Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Photo Credit: All photos taken by Spork with the exception of the corn post

 

Jan 162015
 

The traveling culinary circus, Outstanding in the Field,  will be on the road for its Winter Tour — a one-month series of warm-weather dinners in Louisiana, Florida and Hawaii. The roving “restaurant without walls” kicks off its winter tour with a visit to New Orleans, followed by four dinners in Florida and a trip to the Hawaiian islands.

In the summer of 1999, Jim Denevan came up with the idea of setting a table on a farm and inviting guests to an open-air meal in celebration of the farmer and the gifts of the land. Since that first event, Outstanding in the Field has staged table-to-farm dinners in all 50 states across the US and nine countries around the world,welcoming more than 80,000 people to its long table set in farm fields and orchards, on beaches and mountaintops, in barns and greenhouses. Hundreds of talented chefs — including dozens of Top Chefs and James Beard award winners and nominees — have cooked in OITF’s pop-up kitchen.

Outstanding’s communal table, carefully composed alongside the ingredients for the evening’s meal, inspires lively conversation at the table and a broader discussion about food, community and the meaning of place. After a tour of the farm, diners take their seats alongside the farmers, cheesemakers, ranchers, foragers, fisherfolk, brewers, winemakers and other local food artisans who have provided ingredients for the feast, coming together in delicious communion to break bread and share stories.

Saturday’s Central Florida  dinner with chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant is sold out, but Sunday’s dinner still has a few open seats!

  • January 18: Lake Meadow Naturals Farm, Ocoee, FL – Guest chef Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon, Orlando. Dale Volkert’s farm is one of OITF’s favorite winter stops, so we’re doing two dinners this year – the second with up-and-coming chef Kathleen Blake. Details and tickets here!

Cheers to the roving restaurant without walls, thrilled they are stopping in our neighborhood this weekend!

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Photo Credit: Outstanding in the Field

Oct 212014
 

Capa restaurant has officially opened its doors at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Located on the 17th floor, the menu and setting of Capa is inspired by the Basque Culture, an area of northwest Spain and southwest France.

Capa’s cuisine is inspired by authentic Spanish offerings with a modern twist. Oysters and a Chef’s Seafood Tasting are available, as well as a cheeseboard and charcuterie board featuring Spanish cheeses with numerous breads, olives, prawns, anchovies and more. Their smaller plates include octopus, fluke, king crab, beets with goat curd, cauliflower with caper and egg, and radish with smoked yogurt and pomegranate.

The main courses at Capa include a seafood selection of snapper or halibut; a paella dish with Calasparra rice, mussels, clams, chicken, chorizo and peas; and an assortment of prime meats. The meats are expertly grilled on Capa’s wood-burning grill over American White Oak, a wood traditionally used in Spanish wine barrels that lends a unique flavor to the meat.  A variety of salsas are served to accompany the portions, including a jerez sherry reduction, a rioja red wine sauce, and a verde with cilantro, chives and parsley.

Capa will offer an array of Spanish influenced cocktails designed by James Beard-nominated barman Joe Cleveland. The signature Capa GinTonic features Carounn Gin, Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic and botanicals of green apple, key lime, juniper berries and edible marigolds. The Magic Mojito features minted rum, kiwi, and lime fairy floss (cotton candy). With three sommeliers on staff, Capa offers more than 50 selections of Spanish wine, including the traditional txakoli, a slightly sparkling, dry wine.

All of these bites and sips are served inside or on the expansive terrace.  Terrace diners will overlook woodlands, a lakeside setting with natural wetlands, the Tranquilo Golf Club greens, and views of all four of the Walt Disney World Resort parks. Terrace diners may be able to enjoy setback views of the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park, as well as the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show at Epcot.

Sounds like an all around good date night if you ask us! Capa is located at 10100 Dream Tree Boulevard., Golden Oak, FL 32836 and www.fourseasons.com/orlando.

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Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort

Capa on Urbanspoon

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.

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Photo Credits: Santiago’s Bodega Yelp

Santiago's Bodega on Urbanspoon

Sep 282014
 

Between the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, a handful of new restaurants and Project DTO, Downtown Orlando is undergoing a major (and much needed) transformation. Soco Restaurant in Thorton Park is the newest player to join the downtown revitalization featuring southern contemporary cuisine under Executive Chef Greg Richie.

Soco Restaurant offers southern hospitality in a warm and welcoming environment at the corner of East Central Boulevard. Soco has a full dinner, dessert and wine menu. Hope they add brunch soon, we could all use a new go-to spot for Sunday afternoon meals!

We’re salivating over these menu choices:

  • Hand-Made Canaveral “Shrimp and Grits” Ravioli: Andouille Sausage, Tomatoes and Velouté
  • Lake Meadow Naturals Korean-Style Fried Chicken: Pickled Radishes, Sweet and Spicy Sauce
  • Baked Cheddar Grits with Andouille Crumble
  • Bourbon Banana Pudding: Vanilla Wafer Waffle, Caramelized Banana and Toasted Meringue

Soco Restaurant is located at 629 East Central Boulevard in the Thornton Park District of Downtown Orlando and www.socothorntonpark.com.

© 2013 Cricket's Photography

© 2013 Cricket's Photography

© 2013 Cricket's Photography

 

Photo Credits: Soco Restaurant

Soco Restaurant on Urbanspoon

United Way Chef’s Gala at Epcot Returns Saturday

 

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Heart of Florida United Way’s 25th annual Chef’s Gala, which takes place on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, will benefit local programs that provide food, shelter and other services to thousands of Central Floridians in need. The event features cuisine from more than 20 of Central Florida’s top chefs, along with paired wines, live music and a silent auction.

The participating restaurants include:

  • Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • blu on the avenue
  • California Grill at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • deep blu
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Jungle Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park
  • K Restaurant
  • La Luce
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot
  • Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Primo by Melissa Kelly at Grande Lakes Orlando
  • Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
  • Soco Restaurant
  • STK Orlando
  • Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Todd English’s bluezoo
  • Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk
  • Urban Tide Hyatt Regency Orlando
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort

And for desserts:

  • Amorette’s Patisserie at Disney Springs
  • Bake Me A Cake
  • Disney’s Yacht & Beach Bakery at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company

Tickets are available here: http://www.hfuw.org/chefs-gala/ 

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Jan 302017
 

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Heart of Florida United Way’s 25th annual Chef’s Gala, which takes place on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, will benefit local programs that provide food, shelter and other services to thousands of Central Floridians in need. The event features cuisine from more than 20 of Central Florida’s top chefs, along with paired wines, live music and a silent auction.

The participating restaurants include:

  • Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • blu on the avenue
  • California Grill at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • deep blu
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Jungle Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park
  • K Restaurant
  • La Luce
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot
  • Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Primo by Melissa Kelly at Grande Lakes Orlando
  • Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
  • Soco Restaurant
  • STK Orlando
  • Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Todd English’s bluezoo
  • Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk
  • Urban Tide Hyatt Regency Orlando
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort

And for desserts:

  • Amorette’s Patisserie at Disney Springs
  • Bake Me A Cake
  • Disney’s Yacht & Beach Bakery at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company

Tickets are available here: http://www.hfuw.org/chefs-gala/