Oct 292016
 

The humidity is less oppressive, boots are coming out of the closet and locals have started praising the weather. All of which can only mean one thing, it’s PATIO season y’all! So break out those winter (ish) coats and snag a table outside. Here’s where you should visit for dining alfresco during this glorious season!

  • Baoery Asian Gastropub: The outdoor patio features sleek umbrellas for comfortable shaded seating in a casual and contemporary atmosphere. Strings of mini lantern lights adorn a red awning over a row of picture perfect picnic tables. Indulge in one of their signature baos or bowls of ramen while sipping on a cocktail during the lively buzz of happy hour for a spirited night. PS: Grab your tickets to their one-year anniversary party. Sake bombs included.

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  • Soco: Outdoor seating available at Soco under a sea of striped umbrellas that make up their bistro-style terrace. Whether you’re in the market for an elegant evening meal or an upscale Sunday brunch, glasses of red wine and flutes of mimosas pair perfectly with the southern charm and inviting ambiance only found in Soco’s open air dining space. And here’s our top 10 reasons why Soco is worthy of your precious brunch time.

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  • Morimoto Asia: The modern two story outdoor veranda offers seating both upstairs and downstairs. The stunning venue is especially a sight to behold particularly at night. Feast on spicy salmon sushi rolls or chicken dumplings and treat yourself to a drink from Morimoto’s fall cocktail menu while savoring in the cool night air.

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  • STK: Unwind with the Poisoned Apple mixed drink from STK’s decadent seasonal cocktail menu while lounging on their rooftop deck overlooking Disney Springs. Stay for a full filet dinner or just pop in for appetizers while basking in the fleeting fall breeze.

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  • Tutto Italia at Walt Disney World Resort: Their intimate outdoor shaded patio is perfect for a romantic candle-lit dinner for two or for a gourmet lunch with friends. With a view of Italy’s central piazza, enjoy both a front row seat to the daily flag shows and an escape from the crowds for a relaxing meal.

 

Cheers to you Florida fall.

 

 

Photo Credits: Baoery, all other photos taken by Spork

Oct 282016
 

Orlando Science Center will host the 10th annual Neanderthal Ball on Saturday, November 5 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. to benefit its mission to inspire science learning for life. This year marks the final Neanderthal Ball with the theme of “Celebrate our Evolution.” Guests are invited to celebrate 10 years of Neanderthal Ball and what it has helped achieve for Orlando Science Center.

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The prehistoric-themed event, located in the Science Center’s DinoDigs exhibit, includes a night of dancing, dining, and a silent auction. The auction will feature over 75 unique packages, including offerings from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Kennedy Space Center, unique experiences, and local restaurant packages.

During the event, guests will dance the evening away with live music from the local band, Running with Scissors, and enjoy gourmet creations from Puff ‘N Stuff Event Catering. Neanderthal Ball will fuel the celebration with drinks provided by Tito’s Vodka, a wine bar, and beer provided by Orlando Brewing Company.

Proceeds from Neanderthal Ball will help fund educational programs at Orlando Science Center, plus support opportunities for youth and families to experience the Science Center regardless of income or educational background.

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The cost of the event is $150 per person for the general public and $125 for Orlando Science Center Members. Sponsorships are still available, offering a number of benefits and promotional opportunities, including blocks of tickets to the event and recognition onsite.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.osc.org/neanderthal-ball or call 407-514-2000. For sponsorship information, please contact Sara Haight at 407-514-2233 or shaight@osc.org.

 

 

 

Photo Credits: Orlando Science Center

Oct 262016
 

There are tasting events….and then there’s Cows ‘n Cabs. This annual Western-themed Winter Park event is brimming with 200+ wines, spirits and beers all alongside mini dishes from 20 of the best local restaurants.  If you missed out on the sixth annual Cows ‘n Cabs, make sure you block your calendar for next year’s event.

This food and wine (and more wine, and even more wine) event was founded to help break the cycle of poverty in Central Florida. One hundred percent of ticket sale proceeds and auction items benefited the United Against Poverty and Elevate Orlando.

This event was a feast for your eyes, stomach and palate. Here’s what we tasted and sipped last week alongside a rowdy crowd and Western backdrop.

  • Rusty Spoon: Lake Meadow “Red Devil” stuffed eggs
  • Hunger Street Tacos (coming soon to WP!): Guacamole shots and, of course, tacos
  • Black Rooster Taqueria: Achiote pork taco
  • Peterbrooke: Chocolate and peanut butter petit fours
  • The Osprey Taven: Oxtail tartlets
  • Ravenous Pig: Smoked beef ham crostini
  • The Coop: Mini fried chicken sandwich

An overall exceptional evening of Orlando’s best dining on display. For more details and future event information visit cowsncabs.com.

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Oct 262016
 

Like happy hour or a coffee break, brunch is quickly becoming a regular dining occasion. Once reserved for Easter and special events, this weekend tradition now needs no excuse for one to partake. Between the bottomless Veuve mimosas and endless sweet offerings, Sunday brunch at Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton is not to be missed.

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Their new Sunday brunch features fresh-off-the-farm ingredients sourced from area farms and the resort’s own 7,000-square-foot garden. These ingredients are transformed into Southern comfort food like Smoked Pork Eggs Benedict with BBQ Hollandaise and Pecan-Smoked Bacon and Country Potatoes.

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With an ever-changing seasonal menu, there’s plenty of reasons to return as the seasons change. In addition to endless pastries, you’ll find familiar brunch fare such as the omelet station and cold water oysters. For your savory side there’s offerings such as Rosemary Rubbed Prime Rib or Smoked Pork Loin with Sweet Potato Puree and Bacon-Glazed Brussels Sprouts. The menu’s “Chopped and Chilled” section showcases salads like Bourbon Marinated Fruit Salad as well as a savory kale option. And while the menu items are largely on the savory side, their selection of sugar should end up on your plate. Between endless glasses of bubbles, a myriad of tastes and dessert for days – make sure you put this brunch on your weekend rotation.

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Brunch (served alongside live music) is served on Sundays from 12 to 2 p.m. for $58 for adults and $20 for children ages 12 and younger. And why not round out your morning of luxury with an afternoon at the spa? Reservations can be made by calling (407) 393-4422 or through OpenTable. See you at the Ritz.

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Oct 252016
 
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Harvest Oatmeal To-Go

Before Create Your Nature, Winter Park’s newest fast-casual concept, I never would have imagined having oatmeal for dinner. As Bon Appetit predicted for 2016, the industry is hitting snooze on boring oats, and Create Your Nature is serving them up in some unique ways… along with many other health-conscious dishes in tow.

The café — owned and operated by husband-and-wife duo Dan and Kim Dill — is located at 1284 Orange Avenue in Winter Park. The space was recently renovated into a modern retail complex featuring a variety of local businesses, including The Bear & Peacock Brewery, Foxtail Coffee Co. and Dolce Vita Salon. (All of which are super legit and visit worthy.)

The menu boasts healthier options, such as açaí bowls, oatmeal blends and salads. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items are available.

A few notables include:

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Coastal Açaí Bowl

Açaí Bowls: Signature, Create-Your-Own and Kids’ options available

  • All American | Blend: Blueberries, Banana, Organic Açaí // Toppings: Granola, Blueberries, Banana, Strawberries with Local Raw Honey
  • Greensday |  Blend: Pineapple, Banana, Avocado, Baby Spinach, Organic Açaí // Toppings: Granola, Almonds, Hemp Seeds, Pineapple and Kiwi

Oatmeal: Available in on-the-go mason jars and bowls

  • Adults Only | Gluten Free Oats, Chia Seeds, Almond Milk, Greek Yogurt, Almonds, Apricot, Vanilla Bean and Tuaca Preserves
  • Happy Hour (Choose from Steel Cut or Steel Cut/Quinoa Blend) |  Parmesan Cheese, Pecans, Golden Raisins, Local Raw Honey

Trail Mix: (Customize to your liking)

  • Granola, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Almonds, Toasted Chickpeas, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Golden Raisins

Salads: (Signature and Create-Your-Own options available) 

  • The ABC’S of Me | Baby Spinach,Romaine Lettuce,Blueberries, Strawberries, Pecans // Dressing: Chocolate Balsamic, Basil Olive Oil
  • Cool Beans! | Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Celery, Tomato, Cucumber, Parsley, Mint // Dressing: Lemongrass-Mint Balsamic, Milanese-Gremolata Olive Oil

The Skinny

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Trail Mix

Format: Fast Casual

What’s Açaí:

The açaí  berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is harvested from the Amazon. The superfood’s pure pulp is flash frozen before it makes its way to the U.S. The purple color comes from anthocyanin, which is also the reason for its high nutritional value in power antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and close to zero naturally occurring sugars per serving.

Atmosphere: Clean and warm, beach and nature design accents, great photography taken by Kim Dill in Costa Rica, and Washburn Imports’ Bali art pieces

Local Gems: 

  • Honey by Honey Feast
  • Preserves by Sunchowder’s Emporia
  • Oils and Balsamic Vinegars by Ancient Olive
  • Coffee by Foxtail Coffee Co.

Something I Love: Food is served in bowls made out of coconut

Wi-Fi: Yes

One Dish Everyone Should Try But Might Not: Lacey Caprese | Choice of Oats, Diced Tomatoes, Avocado, Parmesan Cheese, Basil Olive Oil with Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper

Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you catch me practicing my corn hole in the yard, please wait to say hi — I need silence when I throw ( I’m a beginner!)

Açaí you there!

Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

Oct 242016
 

Brad here, I’m back this week with some fall flavor and beer pairings from World of Beer! Cheers.

With fall in full swing, we recently headed to one of our favorite outdoor spots in search of craft brews and heartier cuisine. Whether relaxing by Lake Eola or looking for a place to watch the big game, the downtown World of Beer delivers on the views and the brews. Their new Plates and Pints seasonal menu pairs some solid beer with new and innovative menu offerings, proving there’s more to fall flavors than just pumpkin spice lattes.

We started with the PB&J wings, a creative departure from traditional comfort food. These crispy beauties brought a balance of sweet and savory with their blackberry balsamic jelly glaze and drizzle of spicy peanut butter sauce. Pair with Stone Brewing Co., Stone Mixtape Vol. 14 – The Gatekeeper, a Russian Imperial Stout and IPA blend with figs and plums.

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The Prosciutto and Spiced Apple Flatbread is topped with prosciutto, spiced apple, toasted hazelnuts and goat cheese. The thoughtful pairing here is Dogfish Head Fall On Me, a Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale with hints of apples and fall spices.

The Green Chili Chicken Nachos were constructed so that every corn tortilla chip was treated fairly. Each were equally smothered in green chili chicken, spicy cheese, tomatoes, green onion, jalapeño peppers and chopped cilantro – making every bite just as good as the last.

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Having trouble deciding between a brat or a burger for your game day fare? Order the WOBtoberfest Brat Burger, a fresh beef burger topped with a beer brat, house-made stone ground mustard, sauerkraut, beer cheese sauce and caramelized onions on a toasted brioche bun. Pair it with a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

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This menu will be available until November 20! See you downtown.

 

 

Photo Credits: World of Beer

World of Beer 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:

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  • 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