Jun 302015
 

Staying in town this holiday weekend? Here are some must taste bites to celebrate July 4!

American Q

A special flatbed buffet will be stocked with summer staples like Crocked Sweet Beans, Roasted Florida Sweet Cornand Sweet Potato Salad. They are also serving #MoreQ from the rodizio, with 12 options, including all-you-can-eat St Louis Ribs and Free Range BBQ Chicken, Texas Bark Beef Brisket and Flank Steak, carved tableside.

Wash it all down with American Q’s Mt. Laurel cocktail- Jack Daniels with fresh lemon juice, grapefruit juice, ginger syrup and orange peel garnished with a sprig of thyme.

Upload your best 4th of July selfie on social media with hashtags #BResort, #StayatB, and #BPatriotic, for a chance to win a complimentary dinner for two at American Q or a complimentary spa treatment at B Indulged AVEDA Spa!

Cost:  Endless options for just $39.95; $10 for kids under 7 chickens tall

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Duffy’s Sports Grill 

 Stop by Duffy’s Sports Grill on Thursday, July 2 to get your Rib Fix in a little early. They’re serving a ½ rack of BBQ Baby Back Ribs with your choice of side for $9.95.

4 Rivers 

 4 Rivers Smokehouse may be best known for their BBQ, but this Independence Day The Sweet Shop is offering some festive treats in celebration of the stars and stripes. Make sure to swing by the Sweet Shop and pick up a signature Blueberry Pie  ($7.50) or patriotic Strawberry Shortcake ($4.75), served on a fluffy biscuit cut in half and soaked in strawberry sauce, stacked high with fresh cut strawberries, brown sugar whipped cream, and a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar. These sweet treats are available through the month of July. 4  Rivers Smokehouse will be closed on the Fourth.

 Soco 

Located a short walk away from Lake Eola at the intersection of Summerlin and Central in Downtown Orlando, Soco is the perfect place to dine for the Fourth of July before heading to the lake for the annual fireworks show. Enjoy a savory Southern entrée such as the Slow-Roasted Barbecue-Glazed Pork Belly Biscuits.

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Jun 302015
 

If you missed Second Harvest’s third Chef’s Night (like we did) here’s a little recap! Chef Kathleen Blake, 2015 James Beard award nominee and owner of The Rusty Spoon in downtown Orlando, recently served up some dishes as part of the Chef’s Night series and Catering for Good program.

If you’re not familiar, Chef’s Night brings local top chefs into Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen to celebrate delicious food and raise money for a good cause. All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment. For more on our first Chef’s Night with John Rivers, click here.

Here’s what Chef Blake and team served up last week!

MENU:

  • Passed Appetizer: Amuse-bouche
  • First Course: Charred squid and octopus with Frog Song organic watermelon two ways with house pickled peppers and arugula
  • Second Course: Sweet corn, chorizo and local oyster mushrooms with fettuccine paprikash
  • Third Course: Lake Meadow roasted poussin with butternut squash skordalia and natural jus
  • Dessert: Peach cobbler with muse butter pecan gelato

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And don’t miss the next Chef’s Night on August 27 featuring Disney’s Grand Floridian and Victoria & Albert’s chef, Scott Hunnel and Erich Herbitschek, Executive Pastry Chef. It’s sure to be magical!

Jun 282015
 

Central Florida’s most celebrated chefs will gather on August 8, 2015 at the Orlando World Center Marriott to cook up support for the 26th installment of Orlando’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry.

Forty-four of the area’s most accomplished chefs will showcase tasting portions of signature dishes, accompanied by fine wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails, to ensure that no child grows up hungry in our city and across America.

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Event Auctions & More:

  • Silent auction with signed memorabilia, stays at upscale hotels, dining experiences, rounds of golf on area courses, and exotic adventures and getaways.
  • Instant Wine Cellar game returns offering participants a chance to win more than 150 bottles of wine valued at more than $2,500. Each key is a $25 donation.

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  • New to this year’s event is The Giving Tree. For a $50 donation, participants are invited to choose a hanging envelope from the tree; each hanging envelope contains a restaurant gift card ranging from $50 to $200 in value.

Pre-Events Benefitting Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida:

  • World of Beer: One dollar for each pint sold at its Dr. Phillips location (7800 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando) on July 23 from 4:00 p.m. to close and its downtown Orlando location (431 E. Central Blvd.) July 30 from 4:00 p.m. to close will benefit both organizations.
  • Eola Wine Company: Weekly wine tasting events on Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from July 1 to Aug. 5 for a $15 donation at the door. 430 E. Central Blvd., Orlando.
  • The Ancient Olive: Donating $1 for each bottle of ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars and flavor-infused olive oils sold between July 7 and August 8.
  • Hawkers: During July enjoy a free round of Roti Canai for donating a minimum of $2 to Share Our Strength’s childhood hunger relief programs. Those who donate will be entered into a drawing to win a pair of tickets to Orlando’s Taste of the Nation.

Taste of the Nation Event Details:

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Participating Restaurants (yes, all 44 of them!)

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Photo Credits: Taste of the Nation/No Kid Hungry

Jun 282015
 

Between bars, bowling alleys and themed restaurants, a different sort of entertainment can be found on I-Drive – WhirlyBall. Unlike any other sport in town, WhirlyBall is best described as a combination of basketball and hockey while riding an a machine, similar to a bumper car, called a WhirlyBug.

A team sport, this hybrid game involves a bit of skill and hand-eye coordination – neither of which I have, but driving that WhirlyBug sure is fun. To play, teams toss around a softball sized whiffle ball and at each end of the court, there are backboards where you aim to score. We played with some regulars during our visit and had so much fun driving around on the court that we almost forgot about scoring.

Off the court is a full restaurant and bar, Bloodhound Brew Pub & Eatery, filled with a number of dishes and a full bar with craft beers on tap. Oh and there’s also a drink that lights on fire! After ordering drinks, we grabbed a bite to fuel up for WhirlyDome.

Bloodhound Burger ($12): Chargrilled burger topped with jalapeño mac and cheese, Havarti cheese and crispy bacon all finished with pineapple BBQ sauce. A mac and cheese burger is one thing, but the jalapeños and pineapple flavor added a new twist we’ve yet to see!

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Street Tacos ($10): Flour tortillas topped with your choice of chicken, pork or steak marinated in chimichurri sauce and topped with shredded cabbage, salsa, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. A surprisingly fresh and flavorful dish – perfect for a pre-game meal.

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If you’re looking for entertainment beyond those escape rooms and ice bars, head to WhirlyDome for WhirlyBall, laster tag, bowling and more!

 

 

Video Credit: WhirlyDome

Jun 252015
 

Y’all, we have some of the most exciting event news ever. Soco, will host Chef and Restaurateur John Rivers, for its first guest chef dinner. Dubbed “South Meets South,” the event will take place on Thursday July 16, 2015.

A private culinary experience, Soco will host 125 guests and begin with a cocktail hour at the bar and on the patio. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

A seated five-course dinner will follow, featuring alternating signature dishes from Greg Richie and John Rivers as they take guests on a journey through the first four courses. The two will then team up for the final dish. Each course will celebrate Southern heritage, while highlighting local produce and proteins.

  • Thursday, July 16, 2015 with seating from 5– 9 p.m.

#SouthMeetsSouth….finally!

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Jun 232015
 

Husband-and-wife duo, Katerina and Vassilis Coumbaros, who also own the celebrated Greek eatery Taverna Opa Orlando, are excited to open their highly-anticipated second concept, Tapa Toro, a Spanish restaurant set to open on June 29, 2015in the center of the city’s new tourism complex at the I-Drive 360. Tapa Toro will pay tribute to classic and contemporary Spanish cuisine with a robust tapas menu and “paella pit,” which will act as a focal point of the restaurant. 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.

Tapa Toro Embutidos

Inspired by the culture’s dedication to food and wine, the Coumbaros’ traveled to Spain and developed a menu that leads with indigenous ingredients with imported signatures like chorizo and sherry, complemented by local produce and organic proteins. “Celebration is the Spanish way of life, and Tapa Toro will pay homage to this by fusing food and entertainment under one roof,” said Katerina Coumbaros. “Vassilis and I were inspired by the architecture, the culture and the cuisine of Spain. Tapa Toro is our way of bringing all these memories home.”

Paella, a Spanish-cuisine staple made of rice, green vegetables and meat or seafood; will lead the menu, with four variations of the dish– vegetarian, chicken, seafood or steak. Guests can also enjoy traditional tapas and plates such as Buñuelosfluffy salted cod fritters; Gambas al Ajillo, a classic tapas dish of shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic, paprika and a splash of brandyFricasé de Polloroasted Bell & Evans chicken breast, artichoke, tomato, pearl onion, fingerling potatoes and chicken jus; Albondigasa Spanish meatball made with veal and beef combined with cheese and seasoned with parsley, garlic and Spanish paprika; and Patatas Bravas, fried white potatoes served with a spicy tomato aioli. Guests can also choose from other fare including a Museo de Queso platter of Spanish cheeses, while meat-lovers can enjoy a selection of traditional cured meats with the Museo de Carne platter featuring Jamón Serano, Lomo Embuchado, and Fuet.

Tapa Toro Embutidos & Queso

The focal point in the restaurant is an over-sized, seven-foot wide paella pit, designed with a bar-like setup for guests to dine around, as the rice-based signature dish of Spain is prepared.

Tapa Toro’s bar will feature an extensive selection of Spanish wines, spirits and cocktails, with specialties such as house-made sangria, the Corazon de España (gin and tonic) and Tinto de Verano, a light red wine served in a traditional Spanish wine pitcher called a porron.

Welcome to town Tapa Toro!

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Photo Credits: Tapa Toro

Jun 222015
 

We’re keeping things short and sweet salty today with Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Pretzel Roll Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich. If you’re a breakfast for dinner kind of person you’re in luck because this sandwich is available all day. An interesting trend I might note, as McDonald’s is slowly rolling out a limited all-day breakfast menu in select locations. This pretzel bun though is an interesting addition to a growing breakfast business – it’s savory, salty and a deliberate variation from Dunkin’s famed donuts. If I had to make a bold prediction, I’d say the “pretzel bun” will be the new “brioche bun” in quick-service restaurants. I’ve always loved “hybrid” foods and this new bun is no exception! So, if you’re in the mood for something other than munchkins, try Dunkin’s pretzel bun on the sandwich of your choice. Happy Monday and remember it’s okay to eat #BreakfastWhenevs.

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