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Summer Grilling tips with Christner's Prime Steak

June was National Steakhouse Month, and maybe this would have been perfect for then, but any month is a great month for steak if you ask me. Really when you think about it, any week or day is a great time for steak.

Although we all enjoy a fine evening at a steakhouse, especially one like Christner’s with great steaks and seafood, it is the summer time and that always seems to bring out the grill master in all of us. So as you continue on your magical summer of grilling and pool parties, check out some of these tips from Orlando’s lady of steak herself, Alice Christner….

When it comes to seafood,


-Buy as fresh as you possibly can

-How you cook seafood is really important

-Denser fish like Tuna or Swordfish are wonderful to cook on the grill. You can cook them like you would a steak and they hold up well and yield great flavor

-Delicate white fish like grouper or snapper are best cooked in the oven and lend well to different sauces



On the subject of meat, Alice says,

-Buy the highest grade of beef you can

-Angus at the supermarket (like Publix) is a good consumer choice for something more affordable, but USDA Prime, like Christner’s has on the menu, is the best grade to get. Fresh Market sells it, but a personal favorite is Petty’s Meat Market in Longwood.

-Season your steaks with Kosher salt and pepper; this will help bring out the natural flavors in the meat

-Steak is best when cooked to medium rare. You get a great flavor this way. The only cut that is better to cook to medium is Ribeye because it is the most marbled of all the meats.



Of course if you would rather leave the cooking to the professionals, then you can always make a reservation at Christner's Prime Steak and Lobster at 729 Lee Road Orlando, FL., 32810.

You can call them at (407) 645-4443.... and you just might run into Alice Christner herself.
Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Coral Gables Restaurant Week

Coral Gables, FL.
View Website Here

Every year, Downtown Coral Gables celebrates their diverse culinary scene by hosting Coral Gables Restaurant Week, a three week event series where locals and tourists alike can experience over 40 restaurants in the Gables with prixe-fix menus at a discounted rate.

The chefs from each restaurant work hard every year to create a menu better than the year before, highlighting new techniques and food staples distinctive to that restaurant. Guests can also expect events hosted by participating restaurants throughout the three weeks, including wine/beer and food pairings.

The kickoff for Restaurant Week begins on June 2nd with Taste of the Gables presented by Johnnie Walker and Bailey's, a night where a few participating restaurants of CGRW give guests a taste of what they can expect in the next three weeks. Expect Swine, Talavera, Divino Ceviche and Bulla, who are were winners of last year's Taste of the Gable's "Best Taste of the Gables" award, and many more.

At the luxurious Westin Colonnade Hotel on June 2nd, guests 21+ can taste mouthwatering bites, savory and sweet, from the participating restaurants of Coral Gables Restaurant Week, including Bulla, Sushi Samba, Swine, Red Koi and The Local, to name only a few. Guests make their way around the Westin Colonnade’s gorgeous marble-tiled fountain rotunda as they visit each restaurant’s table overflowing with delicious plates waiting to be tasted

After indulging in the best food Coral Gables has to offer, vote for your favorite dish of the night as the restaurant's battle for the renowned and reputable title of “Best TASTE of the Gables”, won by Bulla Gastrobar last year and Uvaggio in 2014. This year, the winner will also get to display the first traveling Spoon trophy for a year. Tickets for this acclaimed event are on sale now for $100. For a chance to win tickets to Taste of the Gables, participate in the BID’s first Social Scavenger Hunt for an exciting evening of fun with family and friends in the Gables. Make sure to follow @shopcoralgables for further details!

“Taste of the Gables is the best opportunity for locals to see the fantastic dining options Coral Gables has to offer,” said Marina Foglia, Executive Director of the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables (BID). “And with the variety of restaurants we have, it’s like you get to dine around the world within walking distance.”


As Coral Gables Restaurant Week officially begins on June 6th, guests are encouraged to start making reservations to restaurants they discovered and loved at Taste of the Gables! The chefs at each restaurant work passionately and interminably each year to create a unique Coral Gables Restaurant Week Prix Fixe menu better than the year before, highlighting new techniques and food staples distinctive to that restaurant. 

Guests can expect only the best dishes on these exclusive menus, including a Full Rack of Lamb with Potatoes and Chimichurri at Christy’s, Hot Fried Bacon & Date Croquettes from Trust & Co., succulent Roasted Pork Belly with Mole Blanco and house white rice at Talavera Cocina Mexicana, fresh fish Catch of the Day at Angelique Euro Café, and a Warm Bread Pudding with caramel sauce from Bricktop’s. Special events hosted by some of Coral Gables favorite restaurants will also be occurring throughout this three-week period. Coral Gables’ centralized valet system on Miracle Mile is still in full effect and pricing has been reduced to $5.00 for every guest’s convenience.


Join the Business Improvement District June 2nd for Taste of The Gables and experience Coral Gables Restaurant Week June 6th to June 26th to indulge in Coral Gables’ diverse and delectable culinary scene. Get ready — it’s going to be a delicious three weeks

To see a list of menus and pricing for all of the participating restaurants go to http://restaurantweek.shopcoralgables.com

For more information and a directory, visit www.shopcoralgables.com, become a fan on www.facebook.com/ShopCoralGables, www.instagram.com/ShopCoralGables or follow on Twitter @ShopCoralGables.

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Shake Shack Debuts New Menu Items..


119 N Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
(321) 203-5130



Shake Shack competed in the 2016 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Burger Bash with a new specialty burger, the Bacon CheddarShack Burger! Florida was able to get the first taste and everyone asked them to bring it back, so they did! 

For a limited time, the delicious all natural Angus beef hamburger topped with smoked Niman Ranch bacon and Wisconsin aged cheddar cheese sauce will be on the menu in all Florida Shacks beginning Friday, June 3rd.
Price for the Bacon CheddarShack: Single for $6.89 or a double for $9.69

Also launching on June 3rd and available until July 4th is the “Blueberry Pie Oh My” Vanilla frozen custard blended with a slice of delicious Shack-made blueberry pie topped with whipped cream. Available as a concrete or shake. $4.95 for a Single Concrete, $6.79 for a Double Concrete, $5.79 for a Shake.

Learn more at: www.shakeshack.com

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Flemings Prime Steakhouse

933 N Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 699-9463

View Website Here


In today's day and age, the term “Chain Restaurant” often gets a few noses turned up at even the mention of the words. I say that because as a food blogger, I can tell you...just because a restaurant has more than one location or several for that matter, does not mean that they can not stand above the competition. 

Fleming’s was founded in 1998 by restaurateurs Paul Fleming and Bill Allen in Newport Beach, California. The vision was to create a unique steakhouse experience with an emphasis on generous hospitality, an inviting atmosphere and the very finest aged USDA Prime beef. As time went on the Fleming’s brand became successful and eventually wound up as part of Bloomin' Brands, one of the world's largest casual dining companies, which also owns and operates Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill.

At Fleming's, a steak is never just a steak. They have a very meticulous process of selection, preparation and service that ensures it reaches your table at its very best. They obsess over every detail so that you'll savor every bite. Fleming’s prizes itself with a selection of the finest USDA Prime beef, available both wet and dry aged and broiled at 1,600 degrees or iron crusted.

In addition to inspired service and expertly prepared Prime Steak, Fleming's has an exceptional selection of wines for guests to explore. The Fleming's 100 is the restaurant's award winning collection of 100 wines by the glass. The collection is thoughtfully curated by director of wine, Maeve Pesquera. Each year, top-rated wines from around the world and exclusive, limited-allocation boutique wines are selected during an extensive 12-month tasting process. Unique local wine selections are also available at each Fleming's location.


If wine is not your thing, they have some fabulous cocktails available as well.
The Spring Fling is pictured on the left and a classic Mai Tai to the right.


We were greeted by the chef with a wonderful appetizer of gulf shrimp and cheese grits.

My dining companion and I decide to split the Spring Tomato Bisque with artisanal garlic croutons and parmesan frico. The soup was part of a “Taste Of The Season” menu and was delicious.

Once I saw the Genuine Kona crusted Prime Rib Eye, I had to order it. At 16 ounces, it was more than I could eat in one sitting, but a steak this flavorful deserves two separate days to eat it. The Rib Eye itself was cooked to perfection at my requested medium and the Kona rub was magical.

My dining companion chose the Filet “Oscar” paired with a jumbo lump blue crab cake and béarnaise sauce, as featured on the Taste Of The Season menu. The filet was like butter and just melted in your mouth, and the crab cake was excellent as well.

We chose the Warm Apple Crisp with cinnamon crème for our dessert. It was a lovely treat for two to share.

Any time is a good time to stop into your local Fleming’s for some wonderful prime cuts of steak. However, they usually offer seasonal specials throughout the year on a “Taste Of The Season menu with special food pairings and custom cocktails.

Running until June 18th is the Rare & Bold: A Pairing Experience –
Diners can experience the perfect pairing of steak and wine and discover the distinct flavors between steak cuts and aging processes when precisely paired with different types of wines. This four-course, culinary experience will feature Fleming’s classics and thoughtful wine pairings starting at $95 per person, two person minimum.

If you have a case of the Mondays… and who doesn't ? Fleming’s has something that will turn your frown upside down with Prime Monday’s. 
Guests can enjoy a three course meal with their choice of the Craftsman Ribeye, Pork Chop or Sea Bass accompanied by Truffle Mash and Spicy Thai Green Beans. Each entree comes with choice of salad or soup and a dessert. To complete the experience, guests can pick two glasses of wine from a pre-selected menu for $20 or two glasses of wine from a more premium pre-selected menu for $30. Available now for $49.95 each Monday.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Brickell Restaurant Week

600 Brickell World Plaza.
Miami, FL 33131


Brickell and Downtown Miami is striving to be Miami's new culinary epicenter….

Brickell Living brings the inaugural Brickell Restaurant Week to the community highlighting the best cuisine and cocktails in the city.
Brickell Living will host its inaugural Brickell Restaurant Week (BRW) and its Kick Off Event, at the beautiful 600 Brickell World Plaza in the heart of Brickell, Miami on Thursday, May 12, 2016. The “Kick Off Event" will be supporting their 2016 beneficiary partner, the Irie Foundation.

Twenty-five percent (25%) of all net proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to this impactful charity. The Irie Foundation was founded by DJ Irie in May 2011. They seek to improve the lives of South Florida youth through education and extracurricular opportunities that may not otherwise be available to them.
Brickell Restaurant Week (May 12-19) is a restaurant promotion and marketing tool that celebrates the diverse culinary scene in Downtown Miami and Brickell created by locals primarily for enhancing community engagement and development.

Miami’s restaurant scene has exploded in the past few years. The greater Downtown Miami is bursting at the seams with more than 300 restaurants. Brickell Restaurant Week will feature special ‘prix fixe’ lunch and/or dinner options at Downtown Miami’s finest restaurants such as Area 31, Marion Restaurant, Touche, Americal Social, Segafredo, Akoya, Crazy About You, Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolitas and more.




During Brickell Restaurant Week, participating restaurants will offer a Prix Fixe option for lunch and/or dinner. Each option will include 3 courses (appetizer/soup/salad, entrée, and dessert) for lunch and dinner at the special prices listed below (excluding alcohol, tax and gratuities). Lunch is $20/pp and Dinner is $35/pp. 



Brickell Restaurant Week Kick-Off (May 12) will be a festive and fun night under the stars at 600 Brickell World Plaza. Guests will dine on delicious culinary tastings from over 25 local chefs, restaurants and specialty stores while imbibing on beer, wine and cocktails from the official Bar Sponsor, Blue Martini. 

A few sponsors and participants include FIU Graduate School or Business, Evian Water, MBU Consulting, Whole Foods, Pasion del Cielo, Casamigos Tequila, Fireball Whiskey, Maven Cocktails and much more! Listen to melodious beats by the DJ and enjoy a night out celebrating Downtown Miami and Brickell as a dining destination with the community.



Tickets to BRW’s Kick Off Event are now on sale! Pre-sale General Admission tickets are $50 per person and VIP tickets are $100 per person. Tickets available at:

http: BRWKickoff.eventbrite.com. Make sure to get your tickets now before this event sells out! For more information visit www.brickellrestaurantweek.com
General Admission ($50) ticket includes:

⦁UNLIMITED food and drink tasting from over 25 premier food & beverage purveyors!

⦁Access to Official BRW Kick Off Afterparty at Area 31 with 1 complimentary Casamigos Tequila cocktail

VIP Admission ($100) ticket includes:

⦁UNLIMITED food and drink tasting from over 25 premier food & beverage purveyors!

⦁Exclusive VIP Lounge Area!

⦁Exclusive access to VIP restaurant experience and a VIP bar (Blue Martini)!

⦁Exclusive 1hour preview!

⦁Opportunity to mix & mingle with other VIPs, Miami community influencers and leaders, participating chefs & beverage representatives and media!

⦁Access to Official BRW Kick Off Afterparty at Area 31 with 1 complimentary Casamigos Tequila cocktail
About Brickell Living Inc.

Brickell Living Inc. is an independently-held, media company and engagement marketing agency working with businesses and brands who want to penetrate niche consumer markets. They focus on driving behavior-changing results through the power of engagement. Brickell Living specializes in the design and execution of brand and sponsorship activation programs, cause marketing, b-to-c events, community building and mobile marketing. For more information visit www.ourbrickell.com or their popular Instagram page www.instagram.com/brickell_living

About Irie FoundationThe Irie Foundation was founded by DJ Irie in May 2011. The Irie Foundation seeks to improve the lives of South Florida youth through education and extracurricular opportunities that may not otherwise be available to them. With a particular emphasis on the arts, the foundation’s ultimate goal is to improve the graduation rate among the young people it serves. Middle school students will be mentored and encouraged to remain in the program through high school and will receive scholarship money towards college or trade school tuition. For more information, visit www.iriefoundation.org #INSPIRIE #ASPIRIE


Photos C/O Blue Martini 
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The Meatball Stoppe

7325 Lake Underhill Rd.
Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 270-6505
View Website Here

Last year, I told you about a little spot in East Orlando called The Meatball Shoppe. I say little enthusiastically though, because the shop is small inside, but full of great flavor and great character. That great character is attributed to the owners of this establishment - Isabella Morgia di Vicaria, a first-generation American, born of Italian heritage in Brooklyn, NY. and her Husband Jeff Morgia. You can see more of that review here

The Meatball Shoppe is now called The Meatball Stoppe, and they have added a few more things to the menu then just meatballs.

The concept of The Meatball Stoppe is to bring you the classic and traditional Italian meatball and then take it in a different direction. The menu is based on tradition fused with innovation that brings new life to the ‘classic meatball’. Patrons can expect to find a combination of an old world style with a retro feel and fresh originality. Everything from classic meatballs, to mediterranean style and the all new buffalo bleu chicken meatball is on the menu.

What's new is a selection of Italian favorites recreated as only Isabella could do with a selection of entrees titled Famiglia Favorites. It is here you will find such items as Baked Ziti, Eggplant Stack and Lasagna Bolognese. Additionally a few side items or starters have been added like fried calamari, bruschetta, caponata, and The Meatball Stoppe serves beer now too.


The Caprese Salad features tomato, mozzarella and a house made pesto.

The Bruschetta with crostini was pretty fabulous in a very decadent red sauce with fresh mozzarella melted in it.

I was very impressed with the Fried Calamari at the The Meatball Stoppe. I can honestly tell you..this is some of the best I have had in Orlando. The sauce had a bit of a bite to it as well. Very tender calamari, and it was served properly with the tentacles as well as the rings.

The Eggplant Sandwich is a winner. I admit, I have to have meat everyday, but I have some vegetarian friends, and If this was all I could eat...I'd be pretty happy without meat. This sandwich is stacks of fried eggplant with mozzarella, arugula, red onions and a pesto mayo on a focaccia bun.

New to the meatball section of the menu is the Chicken Parmigiana meatball with Buffalo Bleu Cheese sauce. A very tasty addition that is gluten free also.

The Eggplant Stack is a delicious stack of breaded eggplant with a mixture of imported cheeses and a roasted tomato sauce.

Of course you can never go wrong with Nona’s Traditional Italian Meatball with a fried egg in the top.

The Meatball Stoppe has always had great cannolis, and they are the perfect size.

 
Sfogliatelle is a traditional Italian pastry that is flaky on the outside and stuffed with a lemon ricotta filling. These are served piping hot and the filling just oozes out of them once they are opened. This was a very tasty treat.

Isabella believes her meatballs are special and are a representative of the best of many cultures including the Mediterranean and Latin American Countries. Jeff says his love of meatballs comes from the nostalgia that takes him back to when he was growing up, and they’re warm, inviting and are universally loved by all. 


Whether you are in the mood for some great meatballs or some really good Italian family favorites, stop by the Meatball Stoppe and say hello.

The Meatball Shoppe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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MoviEola Returns to Lake Eola Park

512 E. Washington Street
Orlando, FL 32801

The city of Orlando's free monthly movie in the park series is back for summer 2016:

The City of Orlando invites residents and visitors to MoviEola, a free monthly movie series at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando.

Beginning on Friday, April 29, and continuing on the last Friday of every month through August, a free, family-friendly movie will be shown on the East Lawn. The event will start at 6:00 p.m. with lawn games, the playground, music and food available for purchase at the park with the feature movie showing at 8:00 p.m.

Orlando is known as a City for Everyone and that includes being a place where individuals and families of all types can enjoy the unique experiences and quality of life found only in Orlando. MoviEola at Lake Eola Park is one of Orlando’s many family-friendly activities and amenities in our Downtown, which also includes public art installations, museums, cultural and art festivals, green spaces and playgrounds.


WHERE:
Lake Eola Park – East Lawn
512 East Washington Street
Orlando, FL 32801

WHEN:
April – August 2016 on the last Friday of the Month

Event begins at 6:00 p.m. - Movie starts at 8:00 p.m.


MOVIEOLA DATES AND FEATURES:

Friday, April 29, 2016 featuring “Inside Out

Friday, May 27, 2016 featuring “Goosebumps

Friday, June 24, 2016 featuring “Cinderella” (2015 Version)

Friday, July 29, 2016 featuring “Jurassic World” 

Friday, August 26, 2016 featuring “Minions
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Crimson Tavern

7499 Augusta National Dr.
Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 851-9000

Just a mile from the Orlando International Airport, you will find the Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside. I’ve stayed at this hotel before, and it's a wonderful place for tourists and locals alike. I have also eaten at the hotels main restaurant Crimson Tavern on a few occasions. 

Crimson Tavern focuses on locally sourced cuisine with an impressive array of delights for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is redefining what hotel dining is all about. The property's management is comprised of a group of die-hard "foodies" and as a result, Crimson Tavern embodies what is on the cutting edge of the modern food movement: Farm-to-Table cuisine. 

Farm to Table has also gotten quite controversial recently as Laura Reiley, the food critic at the Tampa Bay Times wrote an article worthy of a Pulitzer Prize titled Farm to Fable. In the series of articles, Laura goes in depth to report and investigate how the average restaurant consumer is being lied to about where Tampa Bay area restaurants were sourcing their food from. You can bet this happens in Orlando and all over the country as well.

It's really a staggering article and worth a read if you love food like I do. Here is the link : Farm To Fable

I bring up the article from the times, because Crimson Tavern is one of the few restaurants that I know of, that you can see with your own eyes where they source food from. The restaurant has its own 2,500 square foot Chef's Garden and the culinary team works hard to develop partnerships with many of Orlando's best purveyors to source the finest ingredients available in the region. 


It isn’t too often that many of the items which appear on a diner’s plate come from just a few hundred feet away. In the restaurant’s own chef’s garden, diners are invited to take a stroll through the nearby 2,500 square foot area and see what is ready to be harvested and will soon end up on the menu or quite possibly, on their plate that very evening.

Executive Chef Anthony Hull also pulls from his own roots back in England and resurrects many old school cooking techniques including pickling, jamming, and preserving to prepare much of what diners see on the menu. Chef Hull, truly strives to define the “farm to table” culinary movement with a philosophy that includes a strong connection to the surrounding farms and artisans. They also invite the local farm community to grow for them, which helps these farms to sustain a way of life.

I was recently invited to a special Milk & Honey dinner where we sat outside in the chef’s garden. The theme of course was food and drinks made with or using milk and honey infused products in the ingredients.


Our first beer pairing was the Swamp Head ‘Wild Night Honey Cream Ale.” That honey you see next to the beer is from While the Sun Shines Apiary in Central Florida and is about as fresh and delicious as honey can be.

The Swamp head went really well with the first course of Charred House Ricotta with garden greens, preserved lemon and crispy garbanzo.

Our second course was a dish of local seafood that featured jumbo shrimp, fresh fish and crispy frog legs in a coconut curry sauce with cauliflower. This dish was paired with a Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc.

For our third course we had a rather special treat of a homemade ‘Fwaffle” which is a waffle made with Foie Gras served with crispy chicken skin sausage and honey braised shallots with a house vinegar gastrique.

The “Fwaffle” was paired with Ten Ten Havakon Milk Stout that gave a nice amount of sweet and bitter to compliment the meal.

In an effort to showcase how Chef Hull and his team recycle and reuse food in a variety of interesting ways, we were treated to house baked bread with a candle made of rendered lamb fat. As the candle burns, it creates quite a flavorful dip for the bread.

Our fourth course was a dish of milk fed lamb “Pot au Feu” with bunching onions, potatoes and heritage carrots. This was perhaps some of the most flavorful and tender lamb I have ever tasted. We were served “Sir Adrian’s Mead” for our drink...which is a house made alcoholic beverage made with fermented honey and various spices….and is very potent.

For a palate cleanser before our final course, we enjoyed Hibiscus Tea picked right from the garden.

Our fifth and final course for the evening was a fabulous Warm Olive Oil cake with house spun whey ice cream, smoked honey and strawberry.


Additionally, Chef Hull and his team looked closely at ways in which they could not just recycle, but reuse food scraps from the kitchen and came up with the following efforts, which are now in place:

-Coffee grounds are recycled and used as a natural pest deterrent in the Chef’s Garden


-Scraps from the roasted beets are used to make the beet cured salmon appetizer.

-When fish are cleaned in the restaurant, the skins are boiled and pureed into cat food for the two rescue cats that live in the garden and keep the squirrels and snakes away.

-The kitchen dehydrates onion peelings to make onion powder, and mushroom stems for powder to add to the house-made steak seasoning for additional umami flavor.

-When there is an abundance of fresh herbs from the Chef’s Garden, they are dried to save and use at a later date.

-If there is an excess of any items harvested that cannot be used fresh, they are pickled and preserved.

-Beef fat is rendered and put into the Béarnaise sauce. The hotel is also experimenting with making beef fat candles, which can be served to guests who can dip bread in the fat as it melts.

-All bacon fat from breakfast is saved and used for braising greens, re-fried beans, and enriching the house-made barbecue sauces.

-The restaurant menus are printed on 100% recycled paper, and when damaged or reprinted, old menus are cut up and used as underliners in the restaurant.

-Used soap from guest rooms is given to a company called Clean the World who purifies it and reforms it into bars which are then sent to Third World countries.

From communal tables to private dining rooms and microbrews to wine flights, Crimson Tavern has the perfect evening for you. Regional charcuterie, international cheese plates and many other seasonal specialties all have a place on the menu. 


If you want a restaurant that is casual and friendly and offers locally sourced ingredients with an honest farm-to-table mentality that you can see up close and personal… stop by and say hello to Chef Hull and his team at Crimson Tavern.

The restaurant can fit 80 people, the private dining room can seat up to 16, and semi-private dining on the upper deck is up to 30 guests. Lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dinner is from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Crimson Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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