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Clearwater Beach Uncorked 2015

Pier 60
Clearwater Beach, FL
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CLEARWATER BEACH UNCORKED

Clearwater Beach Uncorked is delighted to announce sponsors and special guests at its 4th annual wine and food beachfront spectacular to be held on February 7th and 8th, 2015, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., beneath the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa.

Clearwater Beach Uncorked will donate a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership. This year’s sponsors include: Publix, Duncan Hines, Florida Department of Citrus, Hefty, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Planters, Organic Girl, Reynolds, and more
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Chefs will whisk away from the Publix Aprons Cooking Stage. Appearances by Food Network retro rad Chef Emily Ellyn, Publix Aprons Chefs Jim Hendry and Tony Logerfo, Duncan Hines Corporate Chef Joe DiPaola with a special appearance by Hefty NASCAR driver Eric McClure and Gerald Walen, author of Road Trips for Beer. Wine and craft beer enthusiasts will love the launch of the delectable Brew-B-Que cooking session with Food Network Chef Emily Ellyn.

Tickets to the Grand Tasting event will provide access to the premier destination for foodies, wine lovers and craft/micro-brew beer aficionados. Enjoy fabulous food from the area’s most delicious restaurants, ‘boutiquey’ hot-spots, and world-class hotels. Taste over 100 wines from across the globe and enjoy the best brews available. 

Sip, savor and be seen on Clearwater Beach at this paparazzi-filled event nestled on one of the most exquisite beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Guests of the event will enjoy a perfect beach weekend coupled with light bites of sweet and savory fare to compliment a vast array of enviable and recognized wines and craft beers to satisfy every palette. Meet with wine specialists, brew masters along with the best and brightest chefs from across the Bay-Area during this week-long gastronomic experience.

Clearwater Beach Uncorked, described as the finest beachfront culinary event on Florida’s west coast, is brought together by sponsors: Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa and Publix. Clearwater Beach Uncorked will bid the ultimate pre-Valentine’s Day beach getaway complete with delicious tastings from the area’s most renowned restaurants, along with savory wines, craft beers, and microbreweries.  For more information, visit http://clearwaterbeachuncorked.com.

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort offers remarkable elegance with the tropical, carefree experience on Florida’s west coast. Views of the Gulf along with extensive floor plans in luxurious one- and two- bedroom suites provide the perfect getaway addition. For more information or reservations, please visit http://clearwaterbeach.hyatt.com.

The USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership (CHTL) is one of the fastest growing colleges in two of Florida’s fastest growing industries. For 10 years, this USFSM program has offered a collection of learning tools for managers in the hotel, restaurant and tourism sectors, including planning, finance, accounting, economics, technology, marketing, branding, and more. For more information visit www.usfsm.edu/chtl.

To Purchase your tickets: 







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Duffy's Sports Grill


951 Market Promenade Avenue
Lake Mary, FL 32746
(407) 878-3604
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As a fan of certain South Florida sports teams, I have heard a great deal about Duffy's. Somehow, I ended up never going to a South Florida location, but my friends were always telling me to go to Duffy's. So, as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to do a menu tasting for the newest Duffy's location in Lake Mary.

What is Duffy's you ask? Well..Duffy’s is a sports grill, that is based in Lake Worth, Florida and operates 26 full-service, casual-dining restaurants, all of which are located in Florida. Established in 1985, the Duffy's brand has become a regional market leader known for top quality casual dining with an emphasis on freshly prepared ingredients and grilled items. Duffy’s boasts a distinctly upscale sports environment complete with satellite programming, more than 75 TVs per location, and framed authentic sports memorabilia throughout each restaurant.

With a reasonably priced menu of tasty food, and all day 2 for 1 drink specials, I started to see what all the fuss was about. Duffy’s menu features freshly prepared ingredients and grilled items that has everything from Chinese chopped salads to Churrasco steak. Guests will enjoy signature favorites such as Duffy’s BBQ baby back ribs, half pound certified Angus beef burgers, grilled-to-order steaks, and a variety of salads and pastas.

A Pineapple Mojito and a Caribbean Breeze cooler were the perfect way to get the evening started.






The appetizer list at Duffy's is pretty impressive, but there is something for everyone. 
The Guacamole was pretty tasty and had a bit of spice. 



Wings come in a variety of flavors, like Asian sesame, sweet Buffalo, spicy orange ginger and firecracker to name a few. 





The Korean Beef Mini Tacos at Duffy's are legendary. Decently seasoned beef gets topped with a cilantro and onion relish and a spicy chili garlic sauce.



The large order of Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna is seasoned and coated with sesame seeds and seared in sesame oil, served with cucumber salad and Soba noodles with Asian dressing.


A newer item, the Roasted Artichoke & Goat Cheese Flatbread with balsamic, onions and roasted red peppers was pretty extraordinary, especially for a sports grill.

Don't worry, the Coconut Crusted Dolphin Fingers are really Mahi Mahi dolphin fish. These are deliciously hand-breaded in sweetened coconut and Panko bread crumbs and fried golden.

I'm a sucker for a good burger, so the Hangover Burger was my entree choice. With a sunny side up egg, pepper-crusted bacon, two slices of American cheese and a half pound burger, you will not be disappointed.

The Churrasco Steak is a certified Angus skirt steak with chimichurri, black beans, rice and plantains. Duffy's did an exceptional job bringing a Miami favorite to an upscale bar menu, as this was a very good version of Churrasco.

A Crunchy Fried Cheesecake is a great ending to any night, especially when it is served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, Ghirardelli caramel sauce,whipped cream and a cherry.


Duffy’s arrival in Lake Mary is actually the second Central Florida location. The first one opened up last year at 4158 Conroy road, at the mall at  Millenia. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and offers a great combination of high quality food, affordable prices and great hospitality with great drink specials. Duffy's is big on providing a community atmosphere and really does a great job of it by offering something for everyone. 

Locals will want to join Duffy’s free MVP loyalty program to earn generous rewards and exclusive benefits. MVP Members begin earning points and rewards on their first visit and can take advantage of discounts such as the Afternoon Break, which gives between 20 and 50 percent off of food purchased on weekdays between 2 and 4 pm. MVP's earn one point for each $1 spent and when they accumulate 100 points, a $10 credit for food and beverages is automatically loaded on their MVP card. They can even earn points faster on Tuesday when members earn Double Points. Everyone who joins can look forward to free offers and gifts sent via email.

Duffy's has re-imagined and elevated the sports grill dining experience. All of the food we sampled was delicious and the drinks were made properly. As far as sports grills go, Duffy's is pretty hard to top. 

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Marlow's Tavern

1008 S. Orlando Avenue (17-92)
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 960-3670
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Marlow's Tavern is a slightly more upscale and gourmet take on a neighborhood grill and bar. It's a great place to meet up with family and friends, but it is also intimate and cozy enough for a date and dine.

Based in Atlanta, the restaurant chain has thirteen locations in Georgia and currently there are two in Central Florida, with plans for more. The first Marlow's tavern opened up at Pointe Orlando on International Drive in 2012 and the Winter Park location opened up in 2013. The Winter Park location took over a former Mc Donalds, and they are making good use of the old Mc Donalds indoor playground by turning into an indoor patio-bar.


The menu at Marlow's features a selection of American tavern fare with a combination of classic dishes that include everything from burgers to wraps to shrimp and grits. The inside design is focused on modern comfort utilizing a black and white motif to create a sleek fashionable look. That overall look and design is accented by black and white photographs and Chicago style brick walls at most locations.

A neighborhood feel is also accomplished with an open kitchen that invites diners to observe the chefs at work and communal tables surround the bar areas. Each Marlow's also features several flat screen TVs that  are discreetly incorporated, “in-the-round”, allowing guests to enjoy a variety of shows while they dine.

I recently met up with some family members here to have a family dinner and celebrate a few birthdays towards the end of December. Although the atmosphere was a little odd at first, the food was really good.


J.T.’s Kettle Chips are crispy potato chips topped with Gorgonzola cheese, bacon, Roma tomato and scallions, and are a great way to start your meal.




While I applaud the effort, the Truffled Parmesan Fries really lacked any serious flavor, they were OK, but just kind of plain.





I was however, impressed with the Prime Rib French Dip. This was moist, tender and flavorful down to the last bite.





Burgers are a strong point for Marlow's and the Tavern Burger is no exception. Thick, juicy and delicious. 





The Roast Turkey Club with organic turkey, avocado spread, baby arugula, Roma tomato, apple-wood smoked bacon and provolone on a Toasted Ciabatta bun was simple yet good.



I am a big fan of Shrimp & Grits, so I almost always try them out if they are offered at any restaurant. The white cheddar grit cake and spinach combined with succulent shrimp at Marlow's is top notch.

The Buffalo Chicken Wrap may sound ordinary, but with spicy chicken, shredded lettuce, tomato, jalapeno jack cheese, ranch dressing in a grilled tortilla, I can assure you its no ordinary wrap.



We didn't have room for dessert, partially because we really enjoyed the Stella on draught.





Overall Marlow’s is a great meeting place for all seasons. They have spacious and open areas that allow guests to enjoy cocktails and great foods at a reasonable price. Check them out sometime soon. Marlow's is open from 11:30 am to 12:00 am.


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Smashburger

334 N. Alafaya Trail
Orlando FL. 32828
(407) 203-6081
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Orlando’s first two Smashburger locations are open for business with a featured menu created with regional flavors and tastes in mind.

Smashburger is another addition to the fast casual burger concept with more than 290 corporate and franchise restaurants operating in 30 states and in five international countries. The company began in 2007 with the vision of Rick Schaden and funding by Consumer Capital Partners—the private equity firm that he and his father Richard own. By offering fresh, premium “smashed to order” burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, signature side items and hand-spun shakes, Smashburger has modernized the way people think about burgers.

Known for localizing its menu in every market with regionally inspired burgers, side items and local craft beers, Smashburger has received numerous awards, including topping Fast Casual’s 2012 Top Mover & Shakers list, America’s Most Promising Company by Forbes magazine, INC. 500’s List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies and INC’s #9 Hire Power Award winner, as well as regularly receiving “best burger” awards in cities around the world.  The Orlando menu includes the Central Florida Smashburger and chicken sandwich with melted Wicked pimina cheese, fried green tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise & Gulden’s spicy brown mustard on an egg bun.

At Smashburger, the secret is in the smash. It starts with 100-percent fresh, never frozen, All-natural Certified Angus Beef and is smashed on a 400 degree flat grill to sear in the juicy flavor. To further the “better burger” experience, the delicious burgers are served on toasted artisan buns and topped with a selection of fresh produce, real cheeses, and high quality condiments.

The menu is more than just burgers, as customers can enjoy a selection of tender marinated grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches and fresh tossed signature salads, along with a variety of irresistible sides. Some unique side items include the rosemary and garlic seasoned Smashfries, Haystack Onions, and Veggie Frites (flash-fried and seasoned carrot sticks and green beans). The restaurant will also serve a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages ranging from handspun shakes, root-beer floats in frosted mugs and beer.



The East Colonial Drive location was the first location to open in Orlando. The second Orlando location on N. Alafaya Trail is 3000 square-feet and has dining room seating to accommodate 102 guests. 

Of course we sampled just about everything, so check out the photos below.



In addition to seasoned "Smash Fries" and regular fries, the Sweet Potato Fries were crispy and delicious.






The Veggie Frites are a healthier choice for those of you wanting to cut back a little.







Of course, you can never go wrong with Fried Pickles.








The salad was pretty tasty as well, if you are not up for a burger.








One of my favorites was the BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger with crispy fried onion strings.





The Truffle Mushroom Swiss was a blissful burger to eat as well.






For some spice in your life, the Spicy Jalapeno Baja Burger is where the heat is. It even has a chipotle bun.





The Central Florida Smashburger with melted Wicked pimina cheese, fried green tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise & Gulden’s spicy brown mustard on an egg bun was pretty damn good.



If you want a break from beef, the Spinach, Cucumber and Goat Cheese Smashchicken sandwich will do the trick.




The Buffalo and Bleu Cheese crispy smashchiken offers up a nice burn with great flavor.











Hand spun Haagen Dazs milkshakes are available in Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Oreo, Chocolate Oreo, Nutter Butter, Salted Caramel and Butterfinger and PB&J and are a must have on your visit to Smashburger.





I enjoyed everything I tasted at Smashburger and think they are a great addition to Orlando. After all...you can never have too many good hamburger places. Pricing is moderate and in line with other fast casual chains.

Regular restaurant hours for both restaurants are 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM daily. Local fans are also encouraged to join Smashburger’s Smash Club. Smash Club members receive the latest news, tastiest promotions and exclusive coupons.

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American Gymkhana

Tastes Of Orlando

7559 W Sand Lake Rd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 985-2900

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American Gymkhana is the all new modern Indian restaurant and lounge on Orlando’s famed "Restaurant Row" in the Dr.Phillips neighborhood. 

Occupying nearly 8,000-square-feet, American Gymkhana seats approximately 190 guests in various spaces. Those spaces include the main dining room, Mahajara Room (private dining room), Hunter’s Cocktail Lounge and the Veranda, that pays homage to a similar lounge found in a traditional gymkhana where royalty would sit and watch outdoor sporting matches.

The restaurant specializes  in modern Indian cuisine and is the brain child of Rajesh Bhardwaj, the restaurateur behind New York’s Michelin-starred Indian concept Junoon. American Gymkhana (pronounced “jim-kah-nuh”) is inspired by a traditional gymkhana - a place of assembly for the elite during the British Raj period in India that lasted from 1858 to 1947. Raj Cuisine can best be described as a mixture of Indian and British foods, or Anglo-Indian food. Most dishes combine the cooking styles of Indian Khansamas or cooks who took aspects of British cuisine and combined them with Indian methods of cooking. There are soups tempered with cumin and red chillies, roasts cooked in whole spices like cloves, pepper and cinnamon, rissoles and croquettes flavored with turmeric and garam masala.

The kitchen at American Gymkhana is led by a Mumbai native and New York transplant, Chef Aarthi Sampath. Chef Aarthi uses imported spices sourced from Indian markets as well as locally sourced ingredients from Florida, to create a balance of traditional and modern cuisine. Starters include dishes such as Gymkhana Chaat a mixture of iconic street food snacks that includes a sampler of samosa, matar tikki and dahi vada. More modern takes on Indian dishes include Galoti Lamb Sliders with spiced yogurt, stuffed lamb and saffron bread. Also available to start are a selection of seven “Skewers” with options ranging from Dahi Kebab, a yogurt and cheese croquette with mango-apricot chutney and Kela Corn Seekh with plantain, corn kaffir lime and sweet pepper coulis to Kadak Seekh with minced lamb, cheddar and tempura batter.

Main dishes are broken up by Fish, Shellfish, Meat, Game, Poultry, and Vegetarian selections. A standout signature is the Angrezi Chicken with roasted tomato, homemade butter and garam masala. The term Angrezi, which is Hindi for the word British, offers a proper representation of the blending of British and Indian cultures from the time period. Other Mains include Meen Moilee which is a crisped seasonal fish with coconut milk, fresh turmeric, lemongrass and curry leaves. The Lamb Vindaloo is a staple of Raj cuisine that combines apple cider vinegar, black pepper, goan chilies and twice fried potatoes. Since India is also famous for its robust vegetarian diet,  American Gymkhana offers a healthy selection of six options that range from Kofta Hariyali that are cheese fritters with methi, spinach and green peas to Market Vegetable Korma with coconut, cashew and ginger.


Tastes Of Orlando
We began our evening with an amuse bouche of Dahi Vada that was designed to get the palate ready for all of the exceptional flavors of the Raj Cuisine.
Tastes Of Orlando




The Lamb Seekh, or Lamb Skewers, can be ordered as a meal, or to share among friends. The lamb is mixed with a variety of spices and seasonings that give them a tender and mildly spicy flavor.

Tastes Of Orlando
Adraki Gobhi is the best cauliflower dish I have ever had in my life. I mean it. This is a cauliflower fritter fried with ginger, galanga, red chili powder,cumin, turmeric... and a lot more. I could eat this everyday.

Tastes Of Orlando
For breads I sampled the Garlic Naan and the Roti. Both were delicious. Roti is an unleavened bread as Naan is  a yeast leavened bread.


Tastes Of Orlando


The Angrezi Chicken is peices of chicken in a roasted roma tomato coulis with a whipped garam masala butter sauce. Its not overly spicy and overall immensely smooth and flavorful.

Tastes Of Orlando
Goat Roganjosh is goat shank braised in a Kashmiri chili and clarified butter sauce. The goat had a very mild flavor, but watch out for that chili sauce as it puts a zing on your tongue.

Tastes Of Orlando

We paired our meals with a side of rice and Daal Makhni. That is a dish of smoked black lentils cooked overnight above the tandoor. Really great for dipping your Roti
Tastes Of Orlando


A Warm Chocolate Financier is a perfect way to end your evening. A light and moist cake, but very rich, served with chai ice cream, almond feuilletine and macerated berries.
Tastes Of Orlando
American Gymkhana is doing a great job of bringing high quality Raj period Indian Cuisine to Orlando. Chef Aarthi Sampath coveys her Mumbai roots and diverse culinary training in an approachable way. All of the food that I sampled on two visits was delicious. You can tell that Chef Aarthi knows her way around Indian spices and cooking. The dishes at American Gymkhana are very flavorful and a lot of them are spicy, but they are not spiced without purpose. 

In addition to wonderful food, the restaurant is also dedicated to its beverage program that is helmed by celebrated mixologist, Hemant Pathak. Hemant has been featured in GQ Magazine and ELLE Magazine and is a world class bartender. While infused Indian liquors, spices and homemade syrups will honor the season by continuously changing, the bar will always be ready with robust flavored libations of 12 signature and classic cocktails, and an additional selection of mocktails that are made with juices that are extracted fresh daily.

American Gymkhana is open Sunday through Thursday 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 10:30 p.m. The cocktail lounge will stay open until 2 a.m., Thursday through Saturday.

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