Mar 072015
 

TR Fire Grill, a chef-inspired American bistro with innovative dishes from Chef Bob Gallagher, is now open with a second location planned for Winter Park!

At TR Fire Grill, you can choose from menu items using the highest quality, freshest seasonal produce from farms in Central and South Florida. Steaks are fresh, never frozen, aged and then hand cut daily in the restaurant. Smoking and grilling are essential to the experience, and TR Fire Grill smokes all of their meats and vegetables in-house daily using hickory wood.

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The bar menu features the very best in American craft beer, wine, bourbon and artisanal cocktails.  Bartenders age tequila and pisco in small oak barrels, and take the craft of making the perfect cocktail to a new level by grilling fresh fruit and infusing the flavor into premium liquors in glass vessels at the bar.

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“Working your way around the menu, you’ll find we’re taking a new approach to some of the classics, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to create memorable dining experiences for our guests,” said Chef Bob Gallagher, Senior Vice President of Culinary and Purchasing for Romacorp, Inc. “We created the menu so our guests could spoil themselves with craveable flavors every step of the way, from our signature cocktails to our delicious handcrafted desserts.”

Recently we feasted on a variety of drinks and plates, here’s what we tasted, sipped and loved!

Bacon & Eggs: Mustard glazed pork, jalapeño deviled eggs, barbecue potato chip dust, pickled red onions. A delightful, yet unique, combination of bacon and potato chips. I mean really how can you go wrong with those ingredients? A must try even if you’re adverse to deviled eggs.

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Hand-Cut Flank Steak: Tomato infused, roasted tomato and onion, jalapeño Cheddar polenta, spring vegetables. Polenta is often underrated and underutilized, but it’s always a nice mix-up from grits! This dish is a yummy combo of hand-cut meat and vegetables all brimming with flavor.

Oven Baked Pizza Dip: Buffalo mozzarella, Provolone cheese, pepperoni, sausage and garlic focaccia bread. Woah. Yeah just order it.

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Smoked Meatballs: Hand-formed and smoked in house, this beef-pork combo is topped with leek and onion beef gravy and sprinkled Manchego cheese.

Wood Aged Margarita: Oak aged (in-house!) Camarena tequila, Grand Marnier, agave nectar and lime. No syrups or powders in these cocktails! The real ingredients make for an exceptional margarita unlike any version we’ve tasted.

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The Swindler: Apple pie shine, Fireball whiskey, pressed lemon and lime and a hint of cinnamon. Mmm. We’re usually wine, sangria or margarita people, but one Swindler drink and we’ve been persuaded to expand our palate. With an unexpected sweetness, this drink is both spicy and sweet. We’d go back just to sip on this goodness!

The Winter Park location is set to open this summer, but in the meantime head to their current location on Semoran Boulevard!

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TR Fire Grill on Urbanspoon

Photo Credit: Bartender, Fire and Lemon/Lime Photo owned by TR Fire Grill. All other photos taken by Spork.

Mar 062015
 

You’re sitting at a local sushi restaurant, and as a sushi novice, you don’t know what to order. Nigiri, Sashimi, Maki…what does it all mean? Sure we can all act like we know, but in all reality, sushi is complicated and comes in lots of forms. Thankfully RA Sushi is here to the rescue with a guide to deciphering the menu.

Sushi 101: Facts, Tips and Deciphering Terms

  • Sashimi? Raw fish sliced into thin pieces.

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  • Nigiri? A specific type of sushi comprising of a slice of raw fish over pressed rice. Nigiri is best when eaten upside down and placing the fish on your tongue.
  • Maki is sushi rolled up using a bamboo mat, typically with seaweed.
  • Fun fact: January 4, 2011 marks the date the highest price was paid for a Bluefin tuna.  The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo sold a 754lb fish for $396,000 ($526/lb). Um what? Nuts.
  • Sushi Rolls aren’t just rolled with seaweed, you can also find them rolled with soy paper, cucumber, or egg.

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  • The correct way to eat sushi is with your hands. Chopsticks were traditionally only used when eating Sashimi. Leaving extra soy sauce in your bowl is considered bad form and mixing soy sauce with wasabi could offend the chef. Whoops, etiquette noted for my next trip to RA Sushi.

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  • Most Japanese sushi chefs train for five to 10 years, with at least two of those years devoted solely to learning how to properly prepare the rice. Impressive.
  • And if you want to get really technical, the word sushi refers only to the rice and not the fish.

Well, there you have it, a little sushi education from RA Sushi. Enjoy, hope you learned something new!

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Mar 052015
 

In addition to experiencing Orlando’s most unique shopping, visitors to Artegon Marketplace Orlando are also treated to a busy schedule of special events and activities. From weekend entertainment and seasonal events, there’s always something happening at Artegon Marketplace. Here’s a look at line-up ahead:

The Art of Beer – Tuesday, March 10 and April 14, 5:00-8:00 P.M.

Mark your calendar to join ‪‎Artegon Marketplace for on Tuesday, March 10 from 5:00-8:00 p.m.  Enjoy a night of craft beer plus live music and tantalizing treats from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, (while supplies last). Relax on the patio while enjoying freshly poured, hand-crafted ales from Orlando Brewing. Mingle with the artisans from The Village at Artegon Marketplace and discover a new way to shop local. This special event makes a repeat performance on April 14.

Spring Into Spring – Saturday, March 21, 6-8 P.M. 

Guests can “Spring into Spring” on Saturday, March 21 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at this FREE art, food and wine stroll through the Village at Artegon Marketplace. Mingle with artisans displaying their hand-crafted items and art while enjoying complimentary bite-sized treats, wine and the jazz jams of a live three-piece band.  

Food Truck Fridays – Friday, March 27, 5-9 P.M.

Artegon Marketplace’s “Food Truck Crazy” truck rally held on the fourth Friday of every month kicks off on March 27. Gather on Artegon’s front patio for live music, entertainment and a kaleidoscope of food options, plus savor a unique deal: bring a purchase receipt from The Village at Artegon Marketplace to guest services and redeem for $5 in Food Truck Bucks.

Weekend Entertainment: Check here for the most up-to-date list of upcoming events: http://www.artegonmarketplace.com/things-to-do-in-orlando/

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Mar 042015
 

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival returns March 4 running through May 17! In addition to the meticulous (and amazing) topiaries eleven outdoor kitchens with “grow your own” gardens will serve sweet and savory bites. The festival is certainly a feast for the eyes and palate!

Here’s what you can expect to see and taste at Epcot this spring.

  • “Frozen” strikes again! (Yay!) Disney’s first Anna and Elsa topiaries will appear in a garden vignette.

Character Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Anna and Elsa

  • Fresh new menu items will debut including the new Botanas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen between France and Morocco pavilions. Here you will find treats such as Cachapas with Farmer’s Cheese – a sweet yellow corn pancake, and Seafood Ceviche with shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado.

Outdoor Kitchen Offerings at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Cachapas with Farmers Cheese

  • Sip the new La Tizana, a non-alcoholic punch finished with fresh fruit that can become an adult beverage with a splash of Santa Teresa RHUM Orange Liqueur.
  • Enjoy new offerings like the “Naanwich” with Arugula Pesto and oven dried tomatoes at the Urban Farm Eats Outdoor Kitchen. Or enjoy returning favorites like the Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch – my favorite taste from last year!

Outdoor Kitchen Offerings at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Quinoa Vegetable ÒNaanwichÓ

Outdoor Kitchen Offerings at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake

  • April 24-26 is Florida Fresh Weekend featuring a bounty of edibles and other plants that thrive in Florida!

Happy Spring!

 

 

Photo Credits: Disney Parks

Mar 032015
 

Toca Boca Orlando, a Spanish restaurant, is slated to open April 23 at I-Drive 360! Toca Boca will pay tribute to classic and contemporary Spanish cuisine with a robust tapas menu and a “paella pit.” Complementing the fare will be a flavorful menu of more than 20 libations, which includes an expansive list of imported wines, in addition to a full collection of spirits and signature cocktails.

Inspired by the culture’s dedication to food and wine, the Toca Boca team traveled to Spain and developed a menu that leads with indigenous ingredients with imported signatures, such as jamón, chorizo, olives, wines and cheeses. Here’s a sample of the menu items, we can’t wait to taste them all!

  • Paella – A Spanish-cuisine staple made of rice, green vegetables and meat or seafood. The menu will include four variations of the dish – vegetarian, chicken, seafood or steak.
  • Buñuelos – Fluffy salted cod fritters.
  • Gambas al Ajillo – A classic tapas dish of shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic, paprika and a splash of brandy.
  • Albondigas – A Spanish meatball made with veal and beef combined with Manchego cheese and seasoned with parsley, garlic and Spanish paprika. Yum.
  • Patatas Bravas – Fried white potatoes served with a spicy tomato aioli.
  • Museo de Queso – A platter of Spanish cheeses, such as Manchego Cheese, Cabra al Vino and Mahon Cheese.

Yummy, we can’t wait for a taste!

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Photo Credit: Toca Boca

Feb 272015
 

What’s better than eating breakfast? Drinking it. Oh yeah. American Q has introduced numerous breakfast cocktails perfect for, well, anytime of day. Cheers and happy weekend!

  • Bailey’s Iced Vanilla Coffee – Bailey’s, Hangar One vodka & frozen coffee cube with vanilla sugar rim
  • Maple Martini – Myers dark rum, Irish cream, maple syrup, milk, & crumbled bacon bits with mini waffle & maple sugar rim. Oh yeah bacon bits.
  • Apple Bacon Bloody Mary - House Bloody Mary blend & Bakon Vodka with smoked apple bacon, lemon wedge and salted rim
  • Cantaloupe Martini – Grey Goose vodka, Cointreau, watermelon liqueur & fresh cantaloupe

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Photo Credit: American Q

Feb 262015
 

Sometimes meat is…overrated. I’m all for a big juicy steak or rack of ribs, but occasionally  your taste buds need a refresh. Plus with Lent upon us, you may need some non-meat options this season! We’ve scoured the city for the best dishes sans meat, here’s our top picks:

4 RiversSmokehouse

  • What to Order: Limited-time only Tuna Melt: Homemade tuna salad, lightly smoked albacore tuna, celery, chopped eggs, pickles, tomatoes and onion. All served on a hoagie bun topped with melted provolone cheese. Available only on Fridays during Lent!

The COOP

  • What to Order: Go Southern at this Winter Park concept when you order their Fried Catfish & Grits with a side of hoppin’ john –  we’re obsessed with this side for the record.

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American Gymkhana

  • What to Order: French Toast Gymkhana stuffed with choice of cinnamon- raisin mawa.

American Q

  • What to Order: Meatless Mondays at American Q: take advantage of the all-you-can eat flatbed buffet without meat every Monday for $19.95 including grilled cauliflower steak, seared rare tuna and more!

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Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster

  • What to Order:  Christner’s Sesame Seared Tuna (our favorite) or fresh Salmon. Their menu also boasts made-for-sharing sides such as Osage Spinach and Skillet Potatoes & Onions. And be sure to end your meal with the Mandarin Orange Cake, a yellow cake base filled with mandarin oranges, pineapples and a whipped cream icing.

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Taverna Opa Orlando

  • What to Order: With more than a dozen meatless options, Opa Orlando boasts:
    • Hummus with chickpeas, olive oil, garlic sea salt and pepper
    • Stuffed Peppers – Green and red peppers stuffed with rice and infused with fresh herbs.

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Soco

  • What to order: Soco brings a contemporary flair to Southern cuisine with their Chicken Fried Cauliflower “Steak” paired with garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus and vine ripe tomato gravy.

Duffy’s Sports Grill

  • What to Order: Chinese Chopped Salad with Sesame Tuna, Ahi Tuna Burger or the Black Bean Veggie Burger. Yep, all this and more from a sports bar!

Here’s to giving your palate something new this week!

 

Photos are from each restaurant respectively.