Sep 192016
 
One visit to Meson Sandwiches and you’re likely to become a fan. This fast-casual spot renowned for its Caribbean-inspired, pressed sandwiches is rapidly expanding in town with three operating locations and two more in the works. National and local publications alike are discovering (and gushing over) this new breed of sandwiches.
We recently visited Meson in Kissimmee and were treated to a myriad of fluffy, fabulous sandwiches! From all-day breakfast to dinner, the restaurant serves up some tasty (and affordable) grub:
  • All Pro: Virginia ham, pastrami, sautéed onions and melted Swiss cheese. With all of their sandwiches you can choose from a variety of classic and Caribbean-style breads.

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  • Philly’s: A new take on an old classic – roast beef or turkey, sautéed onions and peppers with melted Swiss cheese.

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  • White House: Timely right? Roast beef or turkey, sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese.

Meson Sandwiches

  • Omelette Sandwich: This item is filled with scrambled eggs, peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, ham, mayonnaise and Swiss or American cheese. A perfect marriage of breakfast and lunch all wedged between one sandwich.

Meson Sandwiches

  • Omelette Trio Sandwich: Layer upon layer, upon layer of scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, mayonnaise and Swiss or American cheese.

Meson Sandwiches

  • Surfer Baked Potato: Vegetarians rejoice, there’s options on the menu especially for you! This potato is loaded down with soy salami, Swiss cheese, melted cheddar cheese, pickles, peppers, onions, mushrooms, cabbage, tomatoes and their special sauce. Plus you can turn any sandwich into a baked potato if you wish.

Meson Sandwiches

  • Coffee: With a tradition of excellence since 1736, Puerto Rico takes their coffee seriously. Meson uses hand-selected 100% Arabica beans that are roasted to bring out their delicate flavors and aromas. Move over Starbucks, even Coffee Review Magazine gave El Meson’s brew a rating of excellence.

Meson Sandwiches

Meson was founded in Puerto Rico more than four decades ago and is now conquering taste buds in the mainland. So skip the typical chain restaurant sandwich and make your way to Meson Sandwiches!
Find Meson Sandwiches:
  • 1010 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee
  • Florida Mall: 8001 Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando
  • Premium Outlets: 8200 Vineland Ave, Orlando

Meson Sandwiches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sep 132016
 

Every so often a restaurant comes along that you know is bound to be a Central Florida favorite. These restaurants are a rare breed and so uncommon that you almost want to keep the secret to yourself, because with time, everyone will find out about your hidden gem. And while Mount Dora may be known for its arts scene and Christmas decor that rivals Disney’s, it’s now time to add a new accolade to their list. Chef Norman Van Aken, Florida’s only multiple James Beard Award-wining chef recently opened his newest restaurant. 1921.

Situated in a converted home built in 1921, the opening of Chef Van Aken’s highly anticipated restaurant completes the Mount Dora Modernism Museum complex.  Unique to Central Florida, the restaurant features an extensive collection of artwork from Tiffany glass to Murano light fixtures, and there are also select pieces on loan from the Modernism Museum which is located conveniently across the street.

Their menu offerings will change regularly, providing guests the opportunity to experience a wide selection of fresh Florida flavors. 1921’s Wine Director, Scott Geisler, works closely with the culinary team to complement the menu, selecting from the restaurant’s list of global wines varying from eclectic to familiar, recent releases, and storied vintages. Rumor has it they are also working on a wine cellar which will house exceptional vintages and varietals. We’re just hoping for cellar dinners in the future!

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We were recently treated to the most fabulous meal and sampled a wide variety of 1921’s menu. 1921 delivers on cuisine that is equal parts creative, fresh and exceptional. Their menu lives up to its chef’s James Beard awards, and in time Chef Van Aken may just see his name alongside a Beard nomination for his latest creation.

When you visit, make sure these dishes end up on your table:

  • Heirloom Tomatoes: I’d consider myself a tomato connoisseur, most of my life I’ve been obsessed with this vegetable (or fruit….tomato, tomahto right?). Beefsteak, Roma or San Marzano, the heirloom tomato reigns king in my book. This particular dish with watermelon, avocado and crumbled Cotija cheese doesn’t just have tomatoes, it makes them the star.

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  • Plantain Flatbread: A perfectly prepared flatbread base topped with cave aged cheddar and pork jowl bacon. I could have eaten the entire thing by myself, but this was the first of many, many courses. A nice option for dining at the bar alongside one of their cocktails.

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  • Roasted Florida Red Snapper: Straight from the ocean to my plate, and served over a bed of subtle coconut curry with a side of charred pineapple and pumpkin. This dish is a Florida September on a plate – all summer with a touch of fall.

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  • Fried Cornish Hen: There’s a sweet, yet touch of spice flavor found in this dish. Coupled with cola collards made from Mexican Coca-Cola and steaming mac n’ cheese, this fabulous twist on a classic Southern meal is both elegant and rustic.

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  • Devil’s Food Cake: The cake’s layers of chocolate ganache enclosed by a decadent peanut butter frosting makes for the perfect ending. 1921’s confections are equally as impressive as their main event.
  • Georgia Peaches Shortcake: A delicate, yet incredibly flavorful dessert with peach custard, brown sugar crumble, peach jam and whipped cream.

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1921 is so worth the short drive from Orlando – make an afternoon of it and explore all that Mount Dora has to offer. Located at 142 East 4th Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32751, call 352.385.1921 for reservations.
Sep 102016
 

There’s nothing quite like the intoxicating smell of a doughnut. The fried, sweet smell that wafts through the air like a fine perfume is an unmistakable and oh-so welcome scent. Breakfast or afternoon snack, the doughnut is having its moment thanks to local bakeries across the country. We’ll soon find simple glazed doughnuts in this history books as these circular treats take on creative flavors and toppings.

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We’re lucky enough to have DG Doughnuts in town – a small batch, family owned bakery that’s frying, sugaring and delivering fluffy goodness to Central Florida. That’s right…..delivering! If you’ve been following our adventures lately you know how obsessed we are with anything delivered. From Gideon’s to Farm-Haus and now DG Doughnuts, we’re becoming obsessed with local cuisine that arrives at your doorstep. Delivered by the dozen, this bakery accepts orders via email at DGdoughnuts@gmail.com and then coordinates a convenient delivery time with you.

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With a variety of rotating flavors, there’s bound to be something to suit your sweet tooth. Most adorable are the vanilla glazed doughnuts topped with a doughnut hole! How ironic, right? And why eat your Cinnamon Toast Crunch with milk when you can enjoy it in doughnut form with their cereal topped creation? And perhaps my favorite, the peanut butter brownie made complete with a dollop of peanut butter and then topped with a Reese’s.

Why are you still reading Spork? Open your email and get some doughnuts delivered. :)

PS: Fritters more your thing? Grab one of their five pound fritters, literally I think it weighs that much!

dg dougnuts

Aug 292016
 

Summer’s end is near, and Magical Dining month is here! With restaurants around Orlando serving up some of their best dishes at magical prices, it’s the perfect excuse to re-energize your dining routine. Now through October 2 experience a $33 three-course dinner from 90 restaurants around town. Included in this lineup is Ravello at the Four Seasons with a menu that’s equally luxe and affordable.

Modern Italian cuisine is the specialty at Ravello restaurant. From bread made in their wood-burning oven, to regionally influenced Italian specialties, including handmade pasta, you’re sure to enjoy a magical evening at the Four Seasons. We sampled a preview of the menu last week, here’s what we feasted on and thoroughly enjoyed.

Tomato and Mozzarella Focaccia: For an additional $5 make sure you add this gooey, pillow-soft bread to your experience. This savory, yet delicate bread is exceptional and layered with ingredients of flavorful proportions.

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First Course (choice of):

  • Carpaccio: paper thin piedmontese beef with cured mushrooms, pickled radish and watercress. Similar to the dish we raved about at Capa, but with a slightly different composition and flavor profile.

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  • Artichoke Torte: Akin to a quiche, but richer and fuller than your typical brunch fare. My pick for your first course choice!

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  • Caesar Salad: Hearts of romaine with Parmesan and focaccia croutons.

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Pasta Course ($9 additional):

  • If you order nothing else, GET – THE – PASTA. With flour from Napoli, san marzano tomatoes and housemade spaghetti, this dish offers a true taste of Italy.

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Second Course (choice 0f):

  • Braised Short Rib: with local heirloom carrots and soft polenta – my husband’s favorite dish of the night.
  • Pan Seared Local Redfish: a local fish cooked to perfection surrounded by crushed olive oil potatoes, broccolini and key lime basil.

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  • Pollo: Bell & Evans chicken (same place Victoria & Albert’s sources their chicken) with herb crusted potatoes and seasonal vegetables. A massive portion for such a tiny price!

Dessert (choice of):

  • Florida Strawberry Crostata: with limoncello crema and mango-passion fruit sorbet.
  • Hazelnut Budino: Y’ALL. There’s a layer of salted caramel hidden beneath this layer of semi-dark chocolate custard. End your night on this sweet note.

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With 90 restaurants to choose from, you have some tough dining decisions ahead of you. Just make sure you put Ravello at the top of your list. This taste of affordable luxury is not to be missed.

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

Aug 282016
 

Last night we grazed at Orlando’s Taste of the Nation, if you’ve never been to this event you must go next year! As food lovers, there’s nothing better than walking into a massive room filled with culinary delights to sample at your leisure.

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Forty two leading chefs and restaurants, served up endless plates during last night’s event. Every dollar raised fights hunger and homelessness in the Central Florida. Local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Florida Impact.

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After hours of sampling dishes from the area’s finest Chefs, we rolled ourselves out of the Marriott. Here’s a few of our favorite dishes from the night, can’t wait to visit these chefs in restaurant!

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  • Seasons 52: Fresh Summer Truffle Risotto, Shaved Italian Black Truffle, Roasted Mushrooms, Corn, Chive Oil and a selection of wines!
  • Nova Scratch Kitchen: Pecan-smoked Bacon-roasted Diver Scallops with Vermont White Cheddar Anson Mills Grits.
  • Highball and Harvest at Ritz-Carlton: Palmetto Creek Pork Belly, Braised Pork Belly with Zellwood Corn.

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  • Florida Nitro Ice Cream: Assorted Liquid Nitrogen Ice Creams and Sorbets including a Tito’s infused sorbet!
  • Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando: Crispy, Blistered Shishito Peppers with Chorizo paired with one of their signature cocktails.
  • Eddie V’s: Ahi Tuna Tartare on Sesame Lavosh with Avocado and Citrus.
  • Sanpellegrino: Tito’s Vodka mixed with a fruity, bubbly beverage.
  • The Capital Grille: The best of the night! Kona Rubbed Sliced Filet with Horseradish Cream and Sam’s Mashed Potatoes.

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Make sure you attend next year’s 28th annual event!

{PS: look what we found, sporks!} :)

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Aug 252016
 

From buckets of buttery popcorn to king salmon with sun-kissed melon, Walt Disney World offers quite the range of culinary offerings and experiences. The average Disney vacation is filled with family time, iconic attractions and the occasional Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. However, there’s a side of the mouse that goes beyond character dining and endless queue lines. It’s a magical world filled with luxurious hidden gems. If you’re looking for a theme park experience sprinkled with high-end pixie dust, be sure to add one of these experiences to your Orlando agenda.

For our full Disney luxe story, head over to TravelPulse!

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Aug 232016
 

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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.

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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!
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